XDA Developer forum member Alephazain claims to have found an exploit in Samsung Android smartphones that could allow Android Malware to run riot on an Exynos processor based smartphone. This of course includes the Samsung Galaxy S III, the Galaxy Note II, the Galaxy S II and even the Meizu MX that is powered by the Samsung Exynos processor. At the moment this problem is reportedly isolated to the Exynos 4210 and 4412 chips and other devices using these chips could also be affected by the problem. Also Read - Lukewarm response to new BlackBerry Z3 in Indonesia
The exploit could be used in a number of ways as it gives access to the entire physical memory of the device in question and an attacker could theoretically wipe all the data or even brick a phone via a malicious app. Things could get even worst, as an attacker could just quietly access user data, which is a catastrophic scenario. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy Note II Android KitKat update now available in India
Apparently, this could be a problem related to devices using the Exynos chip and Samsung’s kernel sources. Alephazain has confirmed trying this on his Samsung Galaxy S III to root it. To confirm Alephazin’s hypothesis, a senior XDA moderator who goes by the name Chainfire has created an APK file that uses the exploit. Also Read - Android KitKat adoption doubles to 5.3 percent of all smartphones but Jelly Bean still dominates the ecosystem
According to the post the devices that are compatible include the Samsung Galaxy S II GT-I9100, Samsung Galaxy S III GT-I9300, Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE GT-I9305, Samsung Galaxy Note GT-N7000, Samsung Galaxy Note II GT-N7100, Verizon Galaxy Note II SCH-I605 (with locked bootloaders), Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 GT-N8000, and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 GT-N8010.
Notably, the new Exynos 5 chip found in the Nexus 10 tablet is not vulnerable and developer Supercurio has confirmed this. He has also released a fix for the exploit, which can be downloaded from Project Voodoo. Chainfire claims to have flagged some Samsung engineers and Supercurio is also confirming that Samsung is aware of the situation, but the company has not come out with any statement.
It’s worth noting right now, the Google Play market has no malware that can take advantage of this exploit. That said, it does not take long for people to come with malware that can take advantage of the exploit so it is a good thing that we already have a fix in place, considering legions use the above-mentioned devices.
Of course, things are still not in the clear till Samsung comes up with an official fix, but at least the good news is that their latest processor, the Exynos 5 is not affected by the exploit.