A new security weakness has been discovered in Android smartphones allowing hackers to secretly record phone conversations, track geographic location data and access other personal information.
According to computer scientists at North Carolina State University, these “explicit capability leaks” bypass several key security defences built into Android which require users to grant permission before an app gets access to personal information.
Worse still, the code to enable any circumvention is contained in interfaces and services handset manufactures add to original smartphone OS code supplied by Google.
“We believe these results demonstrate that capability leaks constitute a tangible security weakness for many Android smartphones in the market today,” wrote the researchers in a paper scheduled to be presented at next year’s Network and Distributed System Security Symposium. “Particularly, smartphones with more pre-loaded apps tend to be more likely to have explicit capability leaks.”
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