Samsung smartphone users beware. It seems the custom TouchWiz skin found on most Samsung Galaxy smartphones is vulnerable to an attack that can wipe out the phone’s entire contents, including even the SIM data. And this can be done in only one click.
GigaOM reports how only a single line of HTML can do that much damage. In a vulnerability demonstrated by Ravi Borganokar at the Ekoparty security conference, the issue involves tapping a link that executes a data wipe command via the TouchWiz phone dialer.
The report is entitled Dirty use of USSD Codes in Cellular Network, and Borganokar discusses various other means of attacking smartphones and data using USSD commands.
If you’re a Samsung user, you may be familiar with how you can execute all sorts of commands and diagnostics through codes entered in the dialer. The exploit involves directly keying in those commands via a link, and no other user intervention is required other than tapping the link, since TouchWiz automatically dials these codes. Check out the video demonstration below for an example.
Borganokar says this code can even be executed through an NFC wireless transfer or through a QR code, which makes Sammy phone users vulnerable to social engineering attacks that involve tapping or otherwise loading a link.
As an update to the report, Android Police says the vulnerability is not with Samsung phones per se, but with the stock Android browser itself.
The fact is, this is not a Samsung problem, it’s an old Android problem that has been known about for some time. More recent versions of Android avoid the wipe issue, but unpatched devices (like some Samsung phones) may still be vulnerable.
This means the issue can also be replicated on non-Samsung phones, as long as these use unpatched versions of the Android browser.
So far, the issue can be reproduced on these Samsung phones: Galaxy S Advance, Galaxy S2, Galaxy Beam, and Galaxy Ace, among others. Android Police says smartphones that have already been patched, or those that don’t use TouchWiz, are not vulnerable. For instance, the hack does not work on the Galaxy Nexus, since it uses vanilla Android, and without custom skins.
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OMG this is a million times worse than anything happening with iOS 6! Call the media! Alert the press and bang the crap out of this making Android look REALLY REALLY REALLY bad!! Harp on it, whip it, dish out insults everywhere! (Why not that’s what Fandroids do when they blow any Apple issue out of all reasonable proportion.)
Waitaminute Galaxy SIII’s crack like eggs when dropped? Call the media! Alert the press!! HARP HARP HARP!! MALIGN MALIGN MALIGN!!!!!
Two can play at that game.
That’s the only issue with Galaxy S3 is that they cracks when dropped & this is easily fixed with a protective case. I’d be more pissed at the fact that Apple never ever admits to any problems with their devices like this recent scratches on a brand new device out of the box said by Apple to be normal & only dents out of the box should be replaced. I won’t even go into the other problems but just say that other than this vulnerability & the cracking issue which I’ve said is easily solved Samsung is way better. – KID ANDROID
Yeah but seriously even if 100 people reported scratches upon opening a new iPhone 5 box is this worth all the attention it gets? Apple will replace any iPhone that isn’t to a customer’s satisfaction. That is in their DNA, that is how they roll. Obvious scratches would be replaced too especially if the customer is extremely unhappy.
All it takes is one guy to scream bloody murder and the millions & millions of iPhones delivered in pristine shape are tainted? There is a percentage of problems in any consumer electronic item. I once got two dead Classic 160Gb iPods in 2007 (first time then and since it’s ever happened) before getting a good one that has lasted and still going strong. But that was a hard drive issue out of Apple’s control.
Couldn’t disagree more about Samsung being any kind of answer or reason to ditch an iPhone since you also trade off all the other ecosystem things. This is more than about scratches and Maps. (Garmin, TomTom & others have their own map apps in the App Store) Those are not the reason to go Android and I can’t think of one that would be to be honest, but then obviously I am not a fan as you are. But I’m glad you’re happy with your smartly “case covered” phone.
There is something for everybody but my point is we shouldn’t pile on and overreact (every camp looks for any sign of weakness to blow out of proportion as in politics) for insignificant things that will be a distant memory in a hurry. Currently there are recent and ongoing security issues with Android and the fragile case issue but those things can eventually be resolved as well.
For me it’s about the phone and the ecosystem and in that respect Apple has the best overall system for most consumers which is why it’s so damn popular. Also why 22% of ex-Android users are switching to iP5. I’m a very technical guy and I’ve never been attracted to PC’s or Android just because they allow for a little more modification I don’t care about (and most don’t). But, enjoy your own choice of tech!
how many times a day are you told to shut the fuck up? seriously, how many?
I was having a civil conversation with KID ANDROID. What’s your problem? Obviously Mom & Dad did a terrible job teaching you polite manners. Answer anyway: none. Please butt out.
@PeterBlood:disqus: Look Peter, I have no issue with you trying to promote Apple and share your good experience with them on this site, but to just pick at every little thing someone says is a little far. This is an Android website though, so it is sorta out of place.
I agree that Apple do have the best ecosystem right now, but that is mostly due to clever marketing and little competition in the earlier days of the iPhone. Plus, I’ll agree that Android tablets aren’t all that great when compared to other products on the market, but I do think Apple may be in for a challenge with all the upcoming Windows 8 tablets.
I don’t see why there is so much hate for Android from you though, I’ve seen many of the arguments you’ve had with people on this site and it all seems pointless. If you enjoy Apple, good for you, if you are not a fan of Android, again good for you. But you don’t need to constantly strive to get a reaction from “fandroids” as that makes you no better than them. I do agree with the fact that you are an “iSheep” though, but not in the sense that you blindly buy any product Apple spits out. I merely mean it in the sense that you are a fan of Apple, nothing more. I don’t mean to deliver any disrespect with this post as this was not my intention. Have a good day
I am not a promoter of Apple only expressing my views which at the moment are pro-Apple. Why is it out of place? So you can all continue preaching to the choir? Apple’s ecosystem is more than just clever marketing. Marketing will only get you so far as people then see you put your money where your mouth is. And Android is not in a lot of people’s comfort zone.
Windows 8 tablets well, I wish them well but they have so many strikes against them as you probably know.
I’m not hating Android so much as wish there was a consensus of the real facts surrounding it and Apple but too much rationalization bias goes on here much more than on Apple sites. iSheep and its variations is an extremely lame disingenuous term meant to minimize and trivialize others and elevate yourself which is extreme hubris. Just like hurtful words used against minorities. Then the more mentally limited of your ilk abuse it. There is nothing “sheep” about using a great phone and ecosystem. Appreciate what you are saying but respectfully disagree with you on a few points. Good day to you and enjoy your tech!
@PeterBlood:disqus Thanks for the intelligent reply, and I’m sorry if some of the things I mentioned came off as a bit dickish. When I said you promote Apple, I didn’t mean in the literal sense, more in the sense that you come to this site to share your positive thoughts and experiences with Apple. Doing so appears out of place though because this is a site that mostly revolves around Android, and with Apple being its main competition, the readers of this site criticise you for being pro-Apple. I do agree that Apple’s ecosystem is more than just clever marketing, I did not mean to imply that that was all there was to it. I also agree that Android is not in a lot of people’s comfort zones, but that could have more to do with the simplicity of the iPhone and that being the standards being set. So then it just comes down to a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer Android, but that is only because I am forever tinkering with my device and can’t get that same experience from the iPhone. Again, I am not trying to criticise the iPhone, as it is a great phone for many people and it did revolutionise the smart phone back in 2007.
I agree that this site is very biased towards Android, but then again, what would you expect from a site dedicated to Android news?
I did not mean to offend you by referring to you as an iSheep, because I too think it is a lame and pretty unoriginal term to use and it groups all people who like Apple into one category. I only meant to use it as a way to distinguish the fact that you are a fan of Apple, not in the sense that you are an Apple extremist that follows Apple like some sort of cult. I know that probably wasn’t the best term to use but I was drawing a mind blank due to an overload of school work. I’m sorry for any offence or disrespect this may have brought.
I think that we may agree on most points when it comes to things like this, but we each have our own personal preference when it comes to smart phones. But hey, the world would be boring if everyone was the same, plus the competition stimulates more innovation from both companies
Thank you for the intelligent and measured response. Simplicity does not mean feature bare or any less useful or powerful though. I rejected Windows over Macs because of the unnecessary complexities only an IT dept. could love (and do love). IT dept’s everywhere are scared s**tless bout the Mac slow business incursion into their territory and how much less support it needs translating into fewer IT jobs (something like 10 to 1). You always endorse the thing that gives you work. I always found it amusing the most security-issues weak OS was used and justified as the best security OS solution!
I absolutely agree there is a place for the kind of devices some people like to tinker with. We have that with computers so why not phones & tablets? I think the vast majority of people just want to get on with it though and this is not in their area of interest. And you can be very technical as I am and it still not interest you, the options available in Android.
It is unfortunate though how the Android OS was born under a lot of controversy so it’s always had this dark cloud of a stolen OS hovering over. Some people don’t choose Android for this reason. Have you heard the recent Eric Schmidt self-serving blathering about how they are not about patent lawsuits and seem to believe companies should not protect themselves and be able to use other companies patents whenever they want. Believe me if someone tried to use their search, etc. patents they’d be screaming bloody murder and Google lawyers would have their light sabers powering on loudly.
I know this site is for Android followers but then why the hostility and constant propagation of disinformation? Are people THAT insecure here? Or are most of the posturers posting here minors?
Appreciate you understanding how demeaning the word sheep is and perhaps you will stop using it. Words too like Droidtard I only apply to the seriously Android deranged. Probably as dismissive but then I think it fine to dismiss those who can’t carry on an intelligent conversation all the while hiding under the anonymous Internet obscurity blanket.
I am ALL for competition and Windows Phone & RIM are legitimate competitors since their aim wasn’t simply to copy the iOS and the physical iPhone. Of course neither one is doing NEAR as well as Android. I don’t think people appreciate here how they might be enjoying an even better phone from Google and Samsung if they had innovated their own approach to a smart phone instead of merely copying Apple’s approach in order to shortcut getting a phone to market.
Google and Samsung are meeting now about Apple and maybe Samsung will finally listen to Google about the slavish copying. Of course the courts have already acknowledged Samsung’s guilt (as much as they are scrambling to disingenuously appeal).
Sorry for the long post here. Totally enjoy your tech!
That was a pretty thorough response. I completely agree with you about simplicity not meaning less feature packed. It’s true that iPhones are full of features and the simplicity behind the structural design and OS are complimenting the fact that the iPhone is a feature packed phone that anyone can use; that seems to be Apple’s main approach to the market; delivering a high end phone and OS that even the older generation can use and appreciate.
While it may be true that Google redesigned their initial blueprint for the G1, it wasn’t entirely to slavish Apple, but more to keep up with the current trend present in the smartphone world. They took notice of the elegant simplicity behind iOS and attempted to build their own OS that replicate that elegance, but deliver it in a different way. It is quite obvious that Android drew inspiration from iOS, there’s no doubt about that, but most of modern technology is based on prior art, even Apple products. The reason why Apple can do this effectively though is again brought back to the elegant and minimalist structural design, they modernised the prior art their work was based on and gave it their own twist.
To begin with, Android did feel like a bit of an iOS copy, but in recent times they have brought some good innovation to the table and now Apple has begun to draw inspiration from Android, which is what I think Eric Schmidt is trying to refer to when he talks about borrowing other companies ideas and implementing them. Don’t you agree that the notification bar works well with iOS? And that wouldn’t of been possible without the help of Andoid. The constant innovation from both platforms is what’s really helping these companies grow and deliver better products. Plus I think Apple owning the patent over the layout of icons on a page is kind of silly as it seems like an obvious way to display data.
I’m looking forward to your reply, as I really enjoy having a tech related discussion with someone who knows what they’re talking about and gives such detailed responses. Sorry for the long reply, I got on a roll and couldn’t stop
It’s just unfortunate that Samsung kept getting closer and closer to copying iOS against even Google’s wishes inviting the lawsuits that were Apple’s right to defend. If you don’t defend your design turf you lose it. Google was smarter to avoid this as much as possible since Eric Schmidt did use Apple’s iPhone ideas while he was on Apple’s Board, already inviting legal action. This is not conjecture btw. Schmidt used his position on Apple’s Board to further ideas on Android. And that is pretty much evil.
Yes then you understand the “great artists steal” idea which means not copying but taking other influences and making something new out of them which is what Samsung should have done and Android OS from the beginning. Now of course Google is trying to move away from infringing ideas but initially grew Android based more on Apple ideas. Who knows if Android would have gained the traction they did if they had not done this? The “before” as opposed to “after” Schmidt-seeing-iPhone Android phones were not pretty and were more like the dull, unimaginative phones available pre-iPhone and not like the ground-breaking 2007 iPhone. When Schmidt saw the iPhone it was an epiphany, but it was Steve Jobs and his Apple Team’s epiphany. Small wonder then Jobs wanted to go “thermonuclear” on Android as a stolen OS.
The whole “obvious” argument is fraught with peril. A lot of people say what Apple does is “obvious” but would never think of it themselves. So should “obvious” technologies never be used because there would be no incentive for someone to use them since they could be copied freely under this type of thinking? You can probably say that about every patent like the one for wire hangers but if it was so obvious why didn’t someone else think of it first? Obvious is not a good reason to conveniently downplay a patent. The way icons lay out on a page was key to Apple’s look as tiles are to the Windows Phone. Look and feel should be patentable. There are combinations and different ways of laying out this kind of design and all it requires is imagination and a great design team to differentiate which Samsung did not do since they were so enraptured by Apple’s work like a moth to flame (and they did get burned by doing this). I am sure Google was livid by what they did bringing the wrong kind of attention to Android. Be interesting to see what comes out of their talks happening this past week.
Really it’s a kind of flattery but see what happens if you copy a car manufacturers design. That will not be flattered but outraged and sue the hell out of you. Companies live and die by what they design or fail to design. Android users should not be defending a free-for-all in phone design & the jettison of patents when really it’s either laziness or a lack of wherewithal not being able to differentiate yourself from the competition. The number of art students & graphics professionals out there that could design something really cool and Samsung can’t manage that with all the talent available in the world? That’s why their actions are so lazily & disingenuously egregious. You can’t defend this kind of incompetent corporate decision, putting your company and it’s reputation in peril for not imparting your own take on an existing mobile device.
Apple’s notification technology yes is great and though Android was maybe the first to implement it on their phone (or was it RIMM?) it has been around awhile. I suspect many technologies are in the Apple pipeline and it doesn’t take it being implemented on Android first for them to think “hey that’s a good idea, let’s do one too!” Apple not only is thinking of that kind of stuff but thinking ahead to where the puck will be. They didn’t get to where they are by sitting still. And Apple is not pressured by what other people are doing but wait to get a technology right by Apple’s standards.
I really appreciate your intelligent comments as well. It’s refreshing not to have to deal with the other people here who are pretty mindless, insulting and argumentative playing fast and loose with facts. I don’t expect anyone to agree with opinions but there should be some kind of consensus on facts. Discussing tech is so much like discussing politics where everyone seems to have their own rationalization bias firmly in place and any verifiable facts be damned! Have a great day and enjoy your tech! (My wife’s white iPhone arrives today and I can finally get them both activated by Verizon! It’s sure a beautiful looking phone, IMO.)
Engkkkk apple kisser around!!!!!!
Stop beeing such a troll, please.
Stop being such a Fandroid in the worse sense of being a fan. You don’t own this site. Behave yourself.
Ennngggggkk apple kisser around!!!!
Brilliant post. It must have taken ages for you to come up with this.
? I was polite and asked you to stop “trolling” people (you can also callit offending or trying to start a fight), behave yourself, relax, and then we can have a smart conversation about your thoughts and my thoughts and then we can all be happy.
I was. Notice how others acting in true rabid Android fan fashion butted in with extremely rude behavior? The problem is so many fans have no sense of civility or fair mindedness. My views about Apple are not from being close minded as many here have become. If you don’t want to have the polite conversation we were having just say so. Too many insecure folks here. If you are so happy and secure with your chosen device you shouldn’t feel so threatened. Yeah I have gotten angry at times with some outrageous posts here that continue to spread FUD, outright myths and lies. I know too you can’t fight this kind of rationalization bias where the user picks only the “facts” to support his or her case and ignores all others that may contradict it. I will consider then our conversation over.
Sorry not having a conversation with you but KID ANDROID. And I asked you to butt out of our conversation. You have no right to rudely interject that way. Go bother someone else.
Sorry if you got offended by my comment, I just wanted an answer like the one you gave me and I must say that I agree. Next time please be less offending to these guys here so you don’t have to have a “fight” with fandroids, you maybe could have made that first comment little less “stupid” and more “mean” and funny :D
It depends whether I answer something first thing in the morning or in the afternoon! I am trying to be patient but don’t suffer fools easily. My partner is a comedian and I am pretty hilarious actually. Just sometimes not here.
I had a knock down blow out fight on another site with an Android guy in another country but by the end we had become pretty good friends. Here you are automatically treated sometimes like a faceless number with the standard boiler plate response instead of a real person who might, just might be saying something worthwhile. But no one likes to admit they don’t already know everything. People seem to leave their humanity elsewhere when they can hide behind an Internet name. You have to admit many of your fellow Androiders here are borderline buffoons by what they wastefully post, which is net hatred and tech intolerance.
I agree let’s be funny. You can often get your point across better that way. Enjoy your tech!
Engggkkm apple kisser around!!!!!
Apple Will NOT Replace any iPhone if it’s not to customer’s standards… When I bought the 4, It was scratched out of the box, I was not able to have it replaced, even after complaining at the corporate level even though the front glass had a 2 inch scratch in the middle… Making the device worthless… Stop of blatant lies TROLL
Not my experience. You must have had some of the same awful ‘tude you have here.
Go back to iDownloadblog.
Please spend some quality time here:
You have belittled several people on this website and I need an etiquette lesson? I’m just trying to send you home.
Just returning the favor to those who are dismissive and the true Droidtards among you like miloy who must be the village idiot mascot around here and does little to elevate the image of an Android user. I didn’t start the fire. And yes you do need an etiquette reminder lesson like most around here. Ask yourself if anyone would say the things that are said around here if we were standing face to face. Some here are worse than others and to those who are honest and polite a tip of the hat.
I would tell you to stfu face to face. I had an iPhone 3gs for a year and an iPhone 4 for two years. I ‘claimed’ I would never get a different brand again. The things you say literally make me laugh after having my Galaxy S3 for only two months . Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against you as a person at all. Your views on Apple and Android are just extremely distorted.
Classy guy and no you wouldn’t. My views are not distorted but my own opinion having looked at both. I would agree opinions CAN be distorted if laced with misinformation. Glad you enjoy your new phone, your needs obviously changed. Choices are important and even Apple wants (non-copycat) competition. Competition drives things forward for everyone so it’s a win-win for Android, WP8, RIMM, Apple, etc. users alike. I’ve owned an iPhone since the beginning and love it and many millions more share that love of a truly great device many reviewers have said is the best smart phone out there now.
I would. Many reviewers have said the same about Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc… Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. As for Apple wanting “non-copycat” competition, they should consider refraining from doing the same exact things they sue people for.
No you wouldn’t unless you were one of the rudest a-holes on the planet. And it would prove exactly nothing. People are only emboldened here online to say such things, unless you are the “go to bars to pick fights” neanderthal type.
Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder and I don’t get what people don’t understand when I agree you pick the tech that’s right for you, biases and all. (Many have with Android thinking it would be better and but many come back to iPhone when they realize Android isn’t for them. A LOT of them.)
Perhaps you could enlighten us on what Apple has “copied” that’s proprietary & patented (and I don’t mean anything that’s FRAND) by someone else? That’s a particularly disingenuous emotional statement without any evidence to back it up.
Have a great weekend! Going to be playing more with our new iPhone 5′s this weekend. Have fun with your own phone, just don’t drop it without a case on or SMASH, CRASH, TINKLE! :)
iPhone 5 Review: Apple Has The Closest Thing To A Perfect Phone, Ever
I have no problem admitting I’m an asshole. I have literally never dropped a cell phone in my life. Here’s your evidence non-FRAND per your request boss.
Read that and enjoy your new phone. Kirk out.
@PeterBlood:disqus Actually no, I was very nice about it until they refused to care about customer service… I WAS an apple Fanboy like yourself for many years, right through until the 4S was announced and I finally had enough of apples crap last generation hardware and locked out software. I never owned an Android device before I left apple, so I have far more right to speak about these things than you as I have actually been on both sides of the mobile OS wars. Go TROLL somewhere else… iTroll Fail…
I was giving you lots of brownie points until your final lame comments. I don’t believe you now. Apple is still the best overall phone, most people do not want or need whatever lame mods Android can accomplish. What is it that the Apple hardware couldn’t do for you? Once again a user as yourself is unable to cite examples of what they needed that only Android could provide (besides a larger lower res screen) only very vague generic terms. I think if you did you would realize how silly you sound.
@PeterBlood:disqus to sum it up, In a few words, FLASH, CUSTOMIZATION, and expandability. Like it or not some people need more than apple can provide. On top of the fact that without jailbreaking (and by the way voiding your warranty with applecare) you are restricted to only apple approved apps. For example my company used a Flash based web portal, can’t use it on the iPhone, also with android I can customize and control every aspect of my device, with apple you only have a very limited ability to control things. I reluctantly left apple, but once I learned my Android device I can’t image returning to the uber restrictive apple devices. I might suggest you do some actual unbiased research like i did before I made the switch. I bet if you took of your apple colored glasses you’d be surprised at what you find.
Flash is dead, Adobe doesn’t support it anymore on mobile and Microsoft also rejects it on mobile devices as crashy and battery power sucking.
Again you cite no examples only vague Fandroid terminology. What is it that you need to “control” so badly? What are the restrictions that are so onerous to live with? What great/fantastic improvements come your way that are so incredibly not worth living without? You are not making your case. Why do I need to do more “research?” (I have and haven’t seen much anything worth a damn btw.) If you don’t already know then you make my case – all bluff & bluster. Much ado about nothing.
BTW most people don’t want to dick endlessly around with their phones, they just want them to work. You are in a loud but small geek niche. I’d guess most people don’t even use many of the options even available in iOS. But, enjoy your tech, even if you can’t say exactly why.
so @PeterBlood:disqus what you’re saying is because someone has a different experience than you they must be wrong right? Because after reading everything you have posted in this section I can see you took issue with everyone who’s opinion didn’t match yours exactly… Usually I would say you are a troll and just trying start a flame war, but in this case I actually believe you are just a narrow minded fool. You got all bent out of shape because I had a bad apple experience, this shows you have no common sense and no sense of the reality of the situation. Later, I’m not dealing with a Troll.
I am not talking about right or wrong except in areas of fact. I’m not angry you had a bad iPhone experience, it’s too bad since I and most haven’t. You want to opt out of the discussion because you have nothing to back you up or verify what it is about an Android phone that’s modded that so important you can’t live without it that’s up to you.
You make my case there’s NOTHING to write home about by not answering my request however. Please, I want to hear what you have to say. Narrow mindedness I’ve seen is all on the Fandroiders and you don’t help by not justifying what it is that makes a modded Android phone that’s so irresistible. All this troll nonsense is an attempt to flee like a scared rabbit and dehumanize me because you are not up to answering honestly. Like I have said the light of day hitting Fandroid disingenuous arguments and so-called advantages crumbles to dust just like it does to Dracula. An honest debate need not reply! See yah.
Can anyone report this guy yet? He has done nothing put posting sh*t about android and this site, NOTHING senseful, on every single article here androidauthority. I am the only one seing this??
We try to let everyone air their own opinions. Unfortunately, that can also include dissenting opinions. Please vote-down any comments or commenters you think are not posting constructive comments. We do try to be proactive in blocking outright spam. But as for trolling, well, that can be subjective.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, though.
Why would they go on an android website if they don’t like android? I for one would never go on an apple loving website because what’s the point?
Enngggk apple kisser around
Apparently, Android Authority left something important out, which has made an uproar in the community because of their lack of responsibility to their readers:
“The USSD code issue in the SGS3 is patched, and has been for some time” TeamAndIRCclaims. “Current i747 [AT&T Galaxy S III] and i9300 [European Galaxy S III] firmware are not vulnerable.” An update pushed out to the AT&T Galaxy S III last week apparently patched the loophole, with the i9300 being updated beforehand.”
can you please send some information to my ass so it can take a dump… this would be helpful, thanks