Trend Micro updates security app to detect Samsung attacks

Samsung has yet to patch the flaw, which can allow a malicious application to access a device's entire memory

Trend Micro has updated its mobile security software to detect potential attacks on several Samsung Electronics devices that have a flaw that could allow a malicious application to access all of the phone's memory.

The company's Mobile Security product now contains a "pattern" that will detect if an application attempts to exploit the flaw, which it called as serious as a "remote code execution vulnerability on Windows."

The vulnerability, described by Lookout Mobile Security as a failure to restrict kernel address space mapped to userspace via /dev/exynos-mem, is present in devices that use Samsung's 4210 and 4412 Exynos processors. Samsung has not publicly commented on the problem, and it remains unpatched.

Vulnerable devices include versions of Samsung's S2 and S3 mobile phones, as well as the Galaxy Note, Note II, Note Plus and Note 10.1.

Jonathan Leopando, a technical communications specialist with Trend Micro, said in an interview that the company has not found an example of a malicious application in the wild using the vulnerability but one will likely be found "sooner or later."

"We also believe that because of the popularity of the devices that are affected by this vulnerability that the impact could be significant," Leopando said.

After the vulnerability was described on the XDA Developers forum on Sunday, a user by the nickname "Chainfire" posted an Android application package (.apk) file that successfully exploits it.

The application has also been engineered to disable the exploit, but that function can cause other problems, such as the device's camera to stop working.

Lookout advised that "until an official device patch is released, we urge consumers with vulnerable devices to exercise caution when downloading and installing applications."

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

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