Connect with us

Security

New attack creates ghost taps on modern Android smartphones

Published

on


Image: Maruyama et al.

Modern Android smartphones are susceptible to a new type of attack named “Tap ‘n Ghost” that can induce fake finger taps to take unwanted actions.

The attack exploits flaws at both the software and hardware level and has been proven to work even against the most recent smartphone models.

It works against most NFC-enabled smartphones with capacitive touchscreens — which is the most common smartphone touchscreen technology today.

Generating fake screen taps

The Tap ‘n Ghost attack — discovered and documented by three academics from the Waseda University in Tokyo — works using an attack rig that consists of a 5mm thick copper sheet connected to a DDS signal generator, a high-voltage transformer, a battery pack, NFC readers/writers, and a small computer (laptop, Raspberry Pi).

This rig might look bulky, but the research team says it can be embedded inside regular tables, coffee tables, or any other furniture object on which a victim might place their smartphone.

tap-n-ghost attack rig

Image: Maruyama et al.

The attack itself consists of two steps. Once a user has placed their smartphone near the attack rig to be in the smartphone’s NFC range (of 4 to 10cm), the NFC readers/writers can get basic info about a device and trigger one of three actions.

It can make the user’s smartphone open and access a specific URL (doesn’t require any interaction), it can ask the smartphone to pair a rogue Bluetooth device (requires interaction), or it can ask the user to connect to a malicious WiFi network (requires interaction).

This works because, by default, Android devices always look for nearby NFC transmissions, at all times.

At this point, the attack moves in the second phase where the attacker can use the copper plate to induce electrical disturbances into the touchscreen.

Because capacitive touchscreens are a collection of electrodes that exchange small currents between each other during a touch interaction, the extra induced noise can cause ghost taps on the screen, either on a vertical or horizontal axis.

tap-n-ghost flaws

Image: Maruyama et al.

These fake taps can be used to hijack a user’s original tap on a “No” button and apply it on the “Yes” one, allowing the smartphone to connect to a rogue WiFi network, or approve a malicious Bluetooth connection.

The Waseda research team says it tested the Ghost ‘n Tap attack on seven smartphone models and were successful on five.

tap-n-ghost tests

Image: Maruyama et al.

The attack doesn’t work only on smartphones, but also on any NFC-enabled device with a capacitive touchscreen, such as ATMs, voting machines, display screens, and others.

The research team says it worked with the Japan Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) to notify the several smartphone manufacturers about this new attack vector.

“We demonstrated the attack to them and confirmed that the attack is applicable to their latest model,” researchers said.

Not a universal threat

Fortunately, the Tap ‘n Ghost attack isn’t something that can be used against any user. First and foremost, the range of the attack is limited and requires that the user place their device(s) near a disguised attack rig.

Second, because each smartphone model uses different capacitive touchscreen technologies, special signals at different frequencies are needed per phone model. This means that the attacker needs to know a victim’s smartphone model beforehand and configure the attack rig accordingly.

Furthermore, the Waseda team says the attack can be easily mitigated at both the software and hardware level. For example, the Android OS could be modified to introduce a popup that asks the user for permission before a device initiates any NFC operation. Second, signal noise protection can be added to capacitive touchscreen technologies.

More on this research can be found in a whitepaper named “Tap ‘n Ghost: A Compilation of Novel Attack Techniques against Smartphone Touchscreens.”

Related cybersecurity coverage:

Source link

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Security

Adventist Risk Management Data Protection Infrastructure

Published

on

Companies always want to enhance their ability to quickly address pressing business needs. Toward that end, they look for new ways to make their IT infrastructures more efficient—and more cost effective. Today, those pressing needs often center around data protection and regulatory compliance, which was certainly the case for Adventist Risk Management. What they wanted was an end-to-end, best-in-class solution to meet their needs. After trying several others, they found the perfect combination with HYCU and Nutanix, which provided:

  • Ease of deployment
  • Outstanding ROI
  • Overall TCO improvement

Nutanix Cloud Platform provides a software-defined hyperconverged infrastructure, while HYCU offers purpose-built backup and recovery for Nutanix. Compared to the previous traditional infrastructure and data protection solutions in use at Adventist Risk Management, Nutanix and HYCU simplified processes, speeding day-to-day operations up to 75%. Now, migration and update activities typically scheduled for weekends can be performed during working hours and help to increase IT staff and management quality of life. HYCU further increased savings by providing faster and more frequent points of recovery as well as better DR Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) by increasing the ability to do daily backups from one to four per day.

Furthermore, the recent adoption of Nutanix Objects, which provides secure and performant S3 storage capabilities, enhanced the infrastructure by:

    • Improving overall performance for backups
    • Adding security against potential ransomware attacks
    • Replacing components difficult to manage and support

In the end, Nutanix and HYCU enabled their customer to save money, improve the existing environment, and, above all, meet regulatory compliance requirements without any struggle.

Continue Reading

Security

Secure Insight: GigaOm Partners with the CISO Series

Published

on

Don’t look now, but GigaOm, the analyst firm that enables smart businesses to future-proof their decisions, is forging new partnerships to extend its reach and better inform busy IT decision makers. On Thursday, the company announced it was teaming with the CISO Series to share content and better support the community of chief information security officers, security practitioners, and security vendors.

“The CISO Series is one we have admired for a while because they have a very similar aim: They help security professionals become more knowledgeable and understand how their roles are changing,” said Ben Book, GigaOm founder and CEO. “We saw a clear common interest and are delighted to be working together.”

The CISO Series brand has built a formidable reputation through its podcasts, blogs, video chats, and live events for the security community. It has added the extremely popular CyberSecurity Headlines podcast to its stable this year, which joins the CISO/Security Vendor Relationship and Defense in Depth podcasts. Every Friday at 10am Pacific Time, the CISO Series hosts its highly engaging and fun weekly live CISO Series Video Chat, which viewers can register for here.

The channel partnership connects two of the strongest, fastest-growing brands in enterprise IT content production. The agreement enables the CISO Series to share exclusive GigaOm reports with its audience ahead of publication, while GigaOm is able to share insights from the CISO Series’ various publications through its social channels and newsletters. The CISO Series joins other media firms, such as The Register and SDXCentral, as official GigaOm Channel Partners.

“We are delighted to be working with GigaOm because we’re not only both addressing the same audience, but we’re also both trying to bring education and understanding to both the security vendor and practitioner communities,” said David Spark, managing editor and executive producer at the CISO Series. “GigaOm is providing some excellent reports that we’re leaning on for our discussions and reporting across all of our shows.”

Spark continued: “We are always tweaking our programming to bring the best and most up-to-date resources and we’re really impressed with both the volume and quality GigaOm is delivering. Not only are we impressed with their editorial work, but we also appreciate their business branding. It’s something we felt comfortable about aligning with the CISO Series brand as well.”

Check out the CISO Series schedule at http://crowdcast.io/cisoseries, or visit cisoseries.com for more information about the CISO Series and its weekly Video Chats.

Continue Reading

Security

Key Criteria for Evaluating Vulnerability Management Tools

Published

on

Vulnerability management tools scan your IT estate to help identify and mitigate security risks and weaknesses. These tools can facilitate the development of a more comprehensive vulnerability management program. Leveraging people, processes, and technologies, successful initiatives effectively identify, classify, prioritize, and remediate security threats.

A security vulnerability is a weakness that can compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA) of information. Attackers are constantly looking to exploit defects in software code or insecure configurations. Vulnerabilities can exist anywhere in the software stack, from web applications and databases to infrastructure components such as load balancers, firewalls, machine and container images, operating systems, and libraries. This includes code used in the CI/CD pipeline as well as the infrastructure-as-code (IAC) that defines the compute, network, and storage infrastructure.

Recent cybersecurity events have exposed widespread vulnerabilities involving the exploitation of zero-day malware and unknown weaknesses. Threat actors continually discover new exploitation tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to take advantage of weaknesses throughout integrated systems. Moreover, identifying breach paths is increasingly complicated due to the widespread adoption of ephemeral services.

Vulnerability management solutions should provide end-to-end visibility of the protect-surface by aggregating both platform and application risks in a single pane of glass, while leveraging prioritized remediation based on business risk and threat context for efficiency. Containerized workloads deployed via DevOps pipelines have unique security requirements that demand a fully integrated vulnerability assessment to be automated into cloud platform services running containerized workloads.

The path to a mature security posture starts with the ability to identify vulnerabilities in software code, third-party libraries, and at runtime. In addition, the cloud platform used to host your applications should be scanned for misconfigurations. This requires the use of policy configuration baselines, benchmarks, and compliance standards that apply to both the infrastructure and the code used to build it. As organizations implement security guardrails early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC), they can take advantage of cloud-native culture to ensure network and security tools are used throughout all phases of the SDLC.

This GigaOm report explores the key criteria and emerging technologies that IT decision makers should evaluate when choosing a vulnerability management solution. The key criteria report, together with the GigaOm radar report that evaluates relevant products, provides a framework to help organizations assess the solutions currently available on the market and how these tools fit with their requirements.

How to Read this Report

This GigaOm report is one of a series of documents that helps IT organizations assess competing solutions in the context of well-defined features and criteria. For a fuller understanding consider reviewing the following reports:
Key Criteria report: A detailed market sector analysis that assesses the impact that key product features and criteria have on top-line solution characteristics—such as scalability, performance, and TCO—that drive purchase decisions.

GigaOm Radar report: A forward-looking analysis that plots the relative value and progression of vendor solutions along multiple axes based on strategy and execution. The Radar report includes a breakdown of each vendor’s offering in the sector.

Vendor Profile: An in-depth vendor analysis that builds on the framework developed in the Key Criteria and Radar reports to assess a company’s engagement within a technology sector. This analysis includes forward-looking guidance around both strategy and product.

Continue Reading

Trending