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Intel kills its Remote Keyboard app after researchers reveal new exploits

Intel does not want you to use its Remote Keyboard app due to severe vulnerability.

  • Published: April 9, 2018 2:04 PM IST
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Intel has had a difficult start to 2018 when its CPUs, dating back almost two decades, were found affected by a vulnerability known as Spectre and Meltdown. Now, it is the turn of the company’s Remote Keyboard app for Android. While Intel issued patches for Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities, it has deemed it necessary to pull down the Remote Keyboard app from the Google Play Store altogether.

The decision comes after three different security researchers found a number of severe exploits with its Remote Keyboard app. The app allowed users to wirelessly control Intel NUC (next unit of computing) and Intel Compute Stick devices using their smartphones. The severe exploits discovered by the researchers have been listed as “Critical” by Intel itself and the Santa Clara, California-based chipmaker thought it would be too much of work to fix the issues and instead, ditched the app altogether.

The exploits affecting Intel Remote Keyboard app allowed any hacker on the same network to hijack the connection and inject keystrokes and even malicious code into affected Android devices. In a statement, the company said, “Intel has issued a Product Discontinuation notice for Intel Remote Keyboard and recommends that users of the Intel Remote Keyboard uninstall it at their earliest convenience.”

The move from Intel is in stark contrast to the usual practice of fixing the app and injecting encryption codes and tools that will make it impossible to inject keystroke algorithm in the future. Intel is, however, recommending those who have installed the app to delete it as soon as possible. Intel has removed the app from Play Store but it had an install base of around 5,00,000 times before its death. While new users won’t be able to download it, it also means that those who have the app should get rid of it immediately.

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As Bleeping Computer notes an install base of 5 lakh is considerably small for an app available on the Play Store. Google deciding to remove the app rather than offer a fix shows the complexity of the vulnerability that Intel was notified about and its inability or reluctance to suppress it. As always, users should download apps that they definitely needed and also use tools like Google’s Play Protect to scan their devices for vulnerability and malware. If you are a Remote Keyboard user then let us know whether you will miss the app.

  • Published Date: April 9, 2018 2:04 PM IST