Menu
Coding error protects some Android apps from Heartbleed

Coding error protects some Android apps from Heartbleed

A few office-productivity apps are protected from Heartbleed thanks to a mistake

Some Android apps thought to be vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug were spared because of a common coding error in the way they implemented their own native OpenSSL library.

FireEye scanned 54,000 Android applications in Google's Play store on April 10 to see which ones are vulnerable to Heartbleed. The flaw, publicly disclosed on April 7, is contained in OpenSSL, a code library used to encrypt data traffic.

The security company found several games and office-based mobile applications that are vulnerable to the bug, mostly because the applications use their own native OpenSSL library rather than the one in the Android OS. Google said Android was mostly immune to Heartbleed.

"We have notified some of the app developers," wrote researchers Yulong Zhang, Hui Xue and Tao Wei on FireEye's blog.

The Heartbleed flaw is buffer overflow vulnerability in which a server returns too much information, divulging user credentials and sensitive data such as the private key for an SSL certificate.

But it can also be used to attack applications. FireEye said attacking a game could yield its OAuth token, an authentication token, which could be used to hijack an account or linked social networking accounts.

At first glance, some Android office productivity applications also appeared to be vulnerable. But the researchers found a common coding mistake actually meant the Heartbleed bug wouldn't work.

"A deeper look shows that these apps either make a mistake in the native code linkage or just contain dead code," wrote the FireEye researchers.

"Therefore, when they try to invoke SSL functions, they directly use the non-vulnerable OpenSSL library contained within the Android OS, instead of using the vulnerable library provided by the app."

FireEye also found upwards of 17 applications on Google Play claiming to detect the Heartbleed vulnerability. Only six scanned applications on an Android device. Of those six, two missed applications confirmed as vulnerable.

Others in the batch of 17 performed questionable scans and appeared to be designed to deliver advertising software.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags securitymobile securityFireEyeExploits / vulnerabilities

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments