Quadrooter is a new vulnerability that exploits flaws in Qualcomm chips found in many popular Android devices. The flaws lead to four different vulnerabilities. While three out of four were fixed in Google’s August 2016 patch, one vulnerability remains. This exploit puts nearly a billion devices at risk.
Despite patches being issued, updates still have to travel through manufacturers and carriers to make it to phones. Quadrooter is emphasising again the inherent challenges of securing Android’s multi-faceted ecosystem.
Quadrooter has the ability to gain root access to mobile devices. The user simply has to download a malicious app. Without any need for special privileges, the malicious app takes advantage of the Qualcomm chip on the device to gain root access to the user’s phone. With root access, the attacker can gain unrestricted access to sensitive personal and enterprise data without the user noticing.
A number of popular devices relying on Qualcomm's chips are affected, including the Blackberry Priv; Blackphone 1 and Blackphone 2; Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P; HTC One, HTC M9 and HTC 10; LG G4, LG G5, and LG V10; New Moto X by Motorola; OnePlus One, One Plus 2 and OnePlus 3; Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung S7 Edge; and Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
Enterprise challenge and response
Malicious hackers continue to find vulnerabilities to attack the mobile endpoint, and Quadrooter is just one of many headaches. This year alone, we’ve seen a lot of mobile malware make headlines, including SideStepper, Apple Image I/O, HummingBad, and other exploits.
Enterprises are exposed, as sensitive corporate data and applications are at rest on mobile endpoints that can fall prey to these attacks. Unfortunately, this risk will only worsen as attackers increasingly turn to mobile, with user and enterprise adoption continuing to rise.
Hypori’s (VMI) platform enables the enterprise to move beyond the never ending arms race on the mobile endpoint. Hypori’s Virtual Mobile Devices severely mitigate the risks associated with mobility. Virtual Mobile Infrastructure does not depend on Qualcomm chips or even a physical device, inhibiting many vectors of mobile attacks.
Furthermore, with Hypori’s VMI approach, admins can configure and lock down virtual devices to a set of apps and can altogether prevent users from installing apps, malicious or otherwise. Additionally, enterprises can manage patches to virtual mobile devices directly and are no longer at the mercy of carriers and device manufacturers in rolling out updates.
As mobility continues to grow as the ubiquitous computing platform, it is increasingly the target of attacks and exploits. While the vulnerabilities eventually get patched, vendors aren’t always quick to respond. Given the complexity of the mobile ecosystem, there can be further delay as vendors have to coordinate to make a patch available. This is a growing problem that has prompted the FCC and FTC to investigate mobile security patches.
In thinking through an enterprise mobility strategy, it’s necessary to weigh the risk and exposure involved with trying to manage mobility on each endpoint in light of the growing attacks against mobile devices. With Hypori, sensitive business tools and processes can be moved to mobile easily, securely, and without panic as new attacks make headlines.
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Sanjay Challa, Senior Product Manager, Hypori