With the increasing popularity of mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and so on…), problems concerning privacy and protection of strictly personal data have also increased.
Today we will make some considerations about an important service, within the Android operating system, which exposes users to unauthorized capture of audio and of the content of the display.
This service is called MediaProjection. We immediately say that with the new versions of Android, its vulnerabilities and problems should be solved. However, many devices are still vulnerable. In fact, as often happens, even when Google solves problems, most manufacturers do not make them available to their users right away. Moreover, for commercial choices, the most obsolete devices are often not updated.
The MediaProjection service takes care of recording the screen content and the sound of the Android device. This service, starting from Android 5.0, has been made available to developers through specific APIs, which however do not carry out any checks aimed at verifying and preventing malicious actions.
To ensure that an app can take advantage of the features of MediaProjection, as long as it is able to obtain the authorization from the user, through a modified popup message. Once user has permission, the app can have access:
- – to the information shown on the screen;
- – to audio (including telephone calls).
In practice, it should be noted that this type of attack is theoretically perceivable by users. In fact, during registration, users see a special icon in the notification bar. But it remains a dangerous problem.
Google has solved the problem from version 8 of Android (Oreo), but the problem still affects about 70% of Android devices, including Android 5, 6 and 7.
Some of them, probably, will never see an update to Android 8 and, therefore, will remain vulnerable to the problem. Others will be updated with enormous delay, based on the producers’ commercial choices.
So, in the meantime, what can user do?
Well, this vulnerability, together with many others, can be a good reason to equip your Android device with a software for security defense. We suggest Total Antivirus Defender.
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