Android Released July 2019 Security Patch Update with 33 New Vulnerabilities

Google’s famous mobile operating system platform, Android, recently released this month’s security updates of a total of 33 new vulnerabilities that are affecting Android-related devices. Out of this 33 patch updates, 9 are reported to be critical in severity. This is quite an issue that Android developers need to worry about.

According to Statcounter.com, the Android mobile operating system comprises 76.03% of the total market share worldwide. Its rival, Apple’s iOS, is second in place garnering 22.04% only.

Why Vulnerabilities Affect a Mobile Operating System?

This question sounds a little bit complex but to make it simple a vulnerable security update, which is newly created or released, can be a door for malware attacks.

A weak security patch can result in issues to the Android system like lower processing speed, more storage space is consumed than normal or average.

Vulnerabilities also affect multiple Android components like the operating system itself, libraries, media frameworks, other frameworks, as well as Qualcomm components.

9 New Vulnerabilities Explained

The 3 of the critically severed vulnerabilities thrive inside Android’s media framework. Out of this, the most severe could give access for a potential remote attacker to send an arbitrary code on its target device. This method convinces users to open a malicious file.

The other remaining vulnerabilities:

  • Affecting the Android Library
  • Affecting the System
  • Two vulnerabilities are residing in Qualcomm components. One in DSP_Services, and the other in Kernel.
  • The last 3 is residing in Qualcomm closed-source components.

When an application creates an android media player object, it is actually holding up a proxy who can be used to manipulate the concrete player resides in the media server process. Apart from releasing patches for security vulnerabilities, Android Security Patch on July 2019 also included bug fixes for various issues in some of the supported version of Pixel devices.

Besides this, a high severity flaw in the Android framework that could allow an installed malicious application to bypass the user`s interaction requirements in an attempt to gain access to its additional permissions. Most basic security methods, which are very precise important that, every device supports a very strong, hard encryptions.

Many OEMs these days ship their devices with dedicated encryption hardware. While it is beneficial, it is also very expensive. Such as dedicated hardware, has typically been restricted for mid to high tier devices. This is not to say that low-end devices cannot support encryptions, but without hardware accelerated encryptions, the overall user experience is degraded because of slow read/write times.

Most of Qualcomm`s profits come from licensing smartphone radios and chips to the other companies, and one of the biggest costumers of it was Apple. However, the two companies have battled it out in court over royalty payments since 2017. Apple initially sued Qualcomm for allegedly overcharging to use LTE modems. Whereupon Qualcomm countersued saying that it is Apple actually gained and owned it more money in royalties and that it infringed on some of its patents and shared propriety information with its rival Intel. Apple`s relationship with Qualcomm is coming to a bitter end.

Why More Users Choose Android

There are many advantages of Android open-source operating systems to develop applications. Just recently, we posted on how Android phones innovate compared to its rival mobile brands. Oppo’s mesh talk is one of them. Never the less the security on developed apps is vulnerable due to an intruder can get root access by privileges escalation.

Despite most several organizations are working in data security, there is not a global security standard for mobile devices. However many companies, universities, and manufacturers have proposed some guidelines. The majority recommendation was created to avoid or detect a mobile device’s actual threats in different OSI (open systems interconnection).

Security Has Been Improved

It was impossible to detect safety flaws in the APK code, which can trigger threats over the user`s data and over the information recorded into the server. For future works, it is necessary to analyze vulnerabilities over the communication channels, between mobile applications and database servers, in order to establish threats even when it is with encrypted techniques.

Users are strongly recommended to download the most recent Android security updates as soon as they were available to the app in order to keep their Android devices protected against any potential threat attacks, given that users trust so much in so many sensitive transactions on their devices daily.

References:

How To Have An Adapting Cybersecurity

 Cyber security
Cyber security / shutterstock

Every system built in the real world has security. Set a banking institution as an example, the entrance has guards on it even the inside has more. The same setup applies online. For online business owners having a strong Cybersecurity is a must but how to have an adapting one is not easy.

Any individual or an organization will like to buy a magical permanent solution against all Cybersecurity problems and all can sleep without fear. But it is easier said than done. Technology nowadays keeps on evolving like a 4G became a 5G network and soon become 6G.

Let us face the truth, having a Cybersecurity is not easy and to have a strong yet adapting one is a challenge! There is no magical formula to have one but there are a handful of things that anyone can do to achieve lower exposure to risks as well as significant security posture improvements.

With the right platform, intelligence, and expertise along with what mentioned above can help anyone or any institution evade the vast majority of threats. Plus it can also help in detecting and responding to any attacks that get through the system more quickly. No system is safe, that is a reality.

The Challenges of Having a Cybersecurity

It is very indeed a challenging thing to have a Cybersecurity for many reasons but the evolving perimeter that surrounds as well as the complex solutions are not helpful.

A long time ago all but a faint distant memory, according to the Techno standards, Cybersecurity was built around a mere concept of INSIDE vs. OUTSIDE and US vs. THEM or vice versa. The servers, users, applications, and data inside the network system were basically trusted while everything outside was flagged as a potential threat.

The creation of free public Wi-Fi, hotspots, and handy laptops on the go, mobile devices includes phones, tablets, watches, and cloud computing devices have eroded the concept of a fixed perimeter. The old model of perimeter defense is not valid anymore because attacks can be anywhere. Worst, most attacks are appearing to be valid and legitimate users. Software that hasn’t been updated just like what happened to VLC – which hackers found a way to inject malware to its users.

Here’s a Quick Video on How Cybersecurity Works

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdfmV2KW11I

On the other hand, new platforms and technologies are developed thus Cybersecurity vendors are forced to create specific point solutions for each problem. The result of this scenario is confused, mixed tools and services that serve specific facets of the perimeter but does not always play well with each other. This does not provide a comprehensive approach to the whole system but rather a complex one. The said whole security system must be understood and stand-alone.

We can’t remove the fact that the threat or attack landscape is expanding and evolving worsening any solutions even more. Attacks have become stronger, more complex, and harder to be identified such as the famous file-less “Living off the Land” (LotL) attacks.

The diversity of the Information Technology systems, in particular, the hybrid or multi-clouded environment, gives way to misconfiguration. Inevitable human errors expose the network to unnecessary risks.

The attackers are also learning and adapting the Artificial Intelligence (AI) to bypass or evade detections along with the automation of developing customized attacks.

Ways to Enhance Your Cybersecurity

With all those things mentioned above sounds discouraging like there is no hope but there are measures we can do. Bear in mind that our goal is to neutralize attacks or weaken them at least. There is no perfect Cybersecurity system.

As the title of this article, “How To Have An Adapting Cybersecurity”, we must learn to adapt to threats and attacks. One of the goals is to give a hard time for the attackers to penetrate your network system and improve your chances of quick attack detections, stopping them in time. Being smart or knowledgeable is our best defense. We must know our enemies like we know ourselves coming from Sun Tzu’s Art of War book.

Here are the five keys in order to implement that:

  1. You need to evaluate your business objectives and unique attack surface.

Select a threat detection method that can address your workloads properly. Cloud servers are unpredictable they spiral out of control UP and DOWN on a regular basis. Your Cybersecurity system’s detection should follow the provision and de-provision of the engine cloud platforms. The collection of metadata to follow events must be observed because of detection traverse in dynamic environments. Most SIEMs (SIEM stands for Security information and event management) cannot do this.

  • Vulnerabilities must be eliminated even before they are detected.

This method uses vulnerability assessments to identify and remove disadvantages before they become exploited. This includes assessing full application stack, system code, third-party code, and code configurations.

  • Data from multiples sources must be aligned to improve use cases and desired outcomes.

There are kinds of data that must be collected, inspected for any suspicious activity namely; web, log, and network. Each data type has its own unique strengths in identifying certain threat kinds and altogether, gives a whole picture for greater precision and actionable context.

  • Analytics can be used to detect the latest sophisticated attacks.

Sounds complex but don’t be confused, it is ensuring your threat detection mechanisms are looking in real-time events and patterns alongside the past historical events across time. Machine application learning is advised here in order to find out what you are specifically looking for. If you use SIEM, make sure to apply machine learning in order to see missed correlations and tune your SIEM rules better.

And last but not least of course:

  • Align your security goals according to your business demands.

There are more ways to improve your security posture and identify threats. Most of SIEMs have traditional approach in finding threats. They are most helpful for organizations that have a well-rounded staff security program but a SIEM alone isn’t the best answer for security monitoring against today’s web applications and cloud surfaces.

Again remember, no system is safe, just counter arising problems. Be smart is the best defense.

References:

Huawei’s Android License Revoked by Google – updates

Google Android Banned Huawei - Huawei’s Android License Revoked by Google - updates

As the title says Huawei’s Android License Revoked by Google. Yes, The internet is going crazy when Google announces that they are revoking Android license to Huawei. This issue caused too much noise in social media, and much of a concern to Huawei smartphone users.

The Shenzhen based Chinese giant-tech Company, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. faces another devastating news. Google has revoked their license on Android OS effective immediately. This is in line with the Trump Administration’s decision to blacklist Huawei devices to the United States.

Huawei’s Android License Revoked by Google – No Longer can deliver Google Services

Huawei being the second top smartphones manufacturing in the world in terms of sale, next only to Apple. Not only smartphones, but Huawei is also a top manufacturing of internet-related devices, like routers- which dominates Europe sales. They have been the target of the Trump administration, accusing that Huawei equipment are being used for espionage by the Chinese State.  This allegation has been long denied by the company saying that they are not a government owned company and that they are not beholden to Beijing. But fewer countries followed the ban of Huawei devices concerning the same reason with the US government, these countries include Australia, Japan and Taiwan.

With the rising trade war and diplomatic tension between China and US, President of the United States, Donald Trump, signed an executive order and declared a national emergency to prohibit US company from sending hardware goods to Huawei. This however does not bother Huawei since according to them they have more than enough stockpile of hardware goods.

But as part of the blacklisting of the US government, Google has revoked Huawei’s Android license and it is effective right away, this means that Huawei will no longer have access to proprietary apps and services from Google,” as reported by Reuters.  

In simpler terms, Huawei and its sub-brand Honor will no longer have newer updates of Android Operating Service henceforth. But assured that existing Huawei devices will be working as usual and can still update apps on the Google Play Store. Google also twitted on May 20, 2019 in Twitter with their Android Account: “For Huawei users’ questions regarding our steps to comply w/ the recent US government actions: We assure you while we are complying with all US gov’t requirements, services like Google Play & security from Google Play Protect will keep functioning on your existing Huawei device.”

This means also that Huawei will no longer be part of the Android Beta Programs starting with the next release of Android OS upgrades. Also the phones that they will be manufacturing will no longer be Android supported.

In a statement from Huawei in response to all these matter:

“Huawei has made substantial contributions to the development and growth of Android around the world. As one of Android’s key global partners, we have worked closely with their open-source platform to develop an ecosystem that has benefitted both users and the industry.

Huawei will continue to provide security updates and after sales services to all existing Huawei and Honor smartphone and tablet products covering those have been sold or still in stock globally.

We will continue to build a safe and sustainable software ecosystem, in order to provide the best experience for all users globally.”

– Huawei

Following the footsteps of Google in cutting ties with Huawei are American computer hardware manufacturing companies such as Qualcomm, Intel, Xilinx and Broadcom. These companies also announced that they will break trade with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. effective also immediately. According to a Bloomberg report, analyst Ryan Koontz said that “Huawei is heavily dependent on U.S. semiconductor products and would be seriously crippled without supply of key U.S. components,” These companies plays a very significant role to Huawei, for example, Intel is Huawei’s primary supplier of chips sued for data centers, Qualcomm being responsible for SnapDragon SoC’s for Honor 8c and Broadcomm supplies packet switching chips for telecom equipment. These actions again are in lined with the US government blacklisting Huawei in the United States. Reportedly, there are almost 30 American companies which are essential suppliers for Huawei and will also soon break ties with the company.

These has put Huawei into a really bad situations. But considering that they are a huge company, the only plausible option that Huawei can do for now is to create its own operating system, which has been rumored to already work on by the company. As we all know, in contrary, Google Play Store and Apple Store are ban in China, Chinese smartphone users have their own operating system and own app store. If Huawei will have their own operating system, the challenge for them is to introduce it to their user, since it has been overly known that Huawei has Android all along, so shifting the operating system to a new one might be a bit of a challenge to their users which were used to have Android.

With all these matters happening to Huawei, it announced that their launching of the new Honor 20 will not be affected. The launch of the Honor 20 series will still push through on May 21, 2019 in London.

UPDATES:

In May 20, 2019, days after the ban was implemented, the United States Commerce department granted Huawei a “Temporary General License”, this license is giving Huawei 90 days, that’s until August 19, 2019, to “maintain existing networks and provide software updates to existing Huawei handsets.

And with this grant from The United States Commerce Department, Google has reversed its decision about the revocation of Android license to Huawei, Google will now continue to send software updates to Huawei devices until August 19, 2019.

According to Google Spokesperson : “Keeping phones up to date and secure is in everyone’s best interests and this temporary license allows us to continue to provide software updates and security patches to existing models for the next 90 days.” 

After the 90 day temporary license, the United States Commerce Department will reassess the situation and will move forward from there. But it is good to know that Huawei android phones are back to normal and safe.