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Print 30 comment(s) - last by Lazarus Dark.. on Nov 5 at 6:54 PM


Froyo has a few bugs in it.  (Source: rainab on Flickr)
Many of these bugs could expose private user info, much like recent Apple iPhone bug

Android may be open source, but that doesn't make the popular smartphone operating system invincible to security problems.  Hot on the heels of a recently discovered iOS 4.1 vulnerability that could give malicious users access to a locked iPhone's phone app, messaging app, and more, a plethora of Android vulnerabilities have been identified.

The new Android vulnerabilities were discovered by researchers at security firm Coverity.  In their Coverity Scan Open Source Integrity Report the researchers scoured 61 million lines of open source code, including the Android OS source used in the popular HTC Droid Incredible.  Code from Apache, other Linux kernels, PHP, and Samba were among the 291 open source projects examined and compared to the Android kernel.

The team identified 359 bugs in the code.  Of these, 88 of them (roughly 25 percent) were categorized as "high risk" -- bugs that could endanger users' privacy.

Coverity gave Android mixed praise for the quality of its code.  It said that Android had a lower density of bugs per thousand lines of code than average open source software.  But it said it had a higher bug density than the highly scrutinized Linux kernel and that some of the critical bugs should have been caught before release.

While every Android distribution is slightly different, even for the same operating system number, it is thought that these vulnerabilities likely appear in most Froyo-equipped Android phones.

Google has responded quickly to Coverity, reportedly preparing over-the-air fixes that will be delivered by January at the latest.  Coverity is holding off on releasing details of the vulnerabilities until those fixes are delivered.  Over-the-air fixes are one reason some security experts say Android's security is superior to that of the Apple iPhone (iOS does not have over-the-air OS updates).

Google now has something in common with Microsoft -- as the market leader in a major OS segment, it is the highest profile target for exploitation.  Google owns nearly half of the U.S. smartphone market, while RIM and Apple each have roughly a quarter of the market.



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Making a monster from a bug
By drycrust3 on 11/3/2010 12:36:07 PM , Rating: 3
I think a lot of this is just a drama over very little. Not that the bugs themselves aren't important, but that the issue with most bugs isn't that they have been discovered, rather, it is the whether there are exploits to the bug in the wild and the time taken to fix them.
As I understand the normal process, when a bug is discovered the discoverer is asked to contact the OS company and notify them, keep quiet for a reasonable period of time so the supplier can fix the problem, and then release the discovery. But no, this doesn't happen here. Sure, they didn't release the exact nature of the exploits, but Google are expected to suddenly have their PR department making claims about fixing something that has just landed on their plate.
Since there is nothing about exploits in the wild in this article, one has to guess that there aren't.
quote:
researchers scoured 61 million lines of open source code

I can't help but think a hint of jealousy is involved.




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