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Replicant ROM developer reports dangerous security flaw in Samsung Galaxy devices' modems

Posted: , by Luis D.

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Replicant ROM developer reports dangerous security flaw in Samsung Galaxy devices' modems

Samsung is having a rough Thursday. After LeBron's misfortune, developer Paul Kocialkowski of Replicant, a 3rd-party Android ROM, announced the discovery of a possibly dangerous security flaw in some Samsung Galaxy devices. Allegedly, the Nexus S, Galaxy S, Galaxy S 2, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Tab 2, Galaxy SIII, and Galaxy Note 2 have a line in their proprietary (non-Google) Android code that grants their baseband modems permissions to read, write, and delete files on the phone's storage. The user is not alerted to this and has no option to intervene.

While this alone sounds like a possible playground for hackers, Kocialkowski explained that if attackers are able to gain remote control of the baseband's microprocessor, which runs its own operating system and set of commands, they can take advantage of the flaw to blow the phone's file system wide open.

Kocialkowski recommends that concerned users install the Replicant ROM, or another free-software OS, which doesn't include proprietary code for device components. "Our free replacement does not implement this back-door," he said, and reassured users that "if the modem asks to read or write files, Replicant does not cooperate with it." While this whole announcement could seem like a marketing hoax to the more skeptical of you, let's keep in mind that Replicant is free software and the guys behind it don't have that much to gain from such tomfoolery.

Samsung hasn't commented on the discovery, but knowing the company's security efforts, it will most likely investigate the report.

source: The Free Software Foundation via The Register

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posted on 13 Mar 2014, 10:23 1

1. naveenstuns (Posts: 177; Member since: 19 Feb 2012)

Another day Another Galaxy.... oh wait! It isn't about the new galaxy :O

posted on 13 Mar 2014, 10:48 7

3. PapaSmurf (Posts: 10457; Member since: 14 May 2012)

Sounds to me he wants more people to flash his ROM and hit that donate button.

posted on 13 Mar 2014, 12:46 9

6. sprockkets (Posts: 1611; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)

Second opinion:


posted on 13 Mar 2014, 21:38

9. elitewolverine (Posts: 5192; Member since: 28 Oct 2013)

virtually no evidence.

If you read reason #1, the person who did the 'test', side stepped the issue:
" However, the authors provide no evidence of such a "remote control" mechanism. The FSF has a known agenda against proprietary software, and I think that agenda resulted in them creating a narrative that would cause perhaps more outrage than is warranted."

What that reads is, since they didn't provide the file it doesn't exist....

Then goes on in #2, to say it only has functions that the radio user has access to.....AND THE SD CARD, didn't whats app just get slammed for sd card storage?

And then line three, it is not a backdoor...it is a poor design in samsungs radio access code. Really? just bad design. That means backdoor genius author.

In other words, if the radio of the Samsung proprietary code, that is interacting with the base of android, gets compromised, then its all over for that phone. Hence why a new Rom fixes this flaw since it is outside of that link between the two original codes.

The second opinion which reaks, and I love arstech, does nothing to prove it cannot be done.

posted on 13 Mar 2014, 14:43 2

8. networkdood (Posts: 6330; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)

Just another panicked article about nothing

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