Microsoft Exposes Major Android App Vulnerability Impacting Billions

Microsoft discovers ‘Dirty Stream’ vulnerability affecting over 4 billion installations of Android apps, including popular apps like Xiaomi’s File Manager.

According to Android Authority, Microsoft has recently disclosed a significant security vulnerability named “Dirty Stream” that could affect billions of downloaded Android apps.

If exploited, this vulnerability allows attackers to take control of apps and steal sensitive user information.

The “Dirty Stream” vulnerability originates from malicious apps manipulating the content provider system in Android, which is intended for secure data exchange between apps on a device. This system includes rigorous data isolation, URI permissions, and file path validations to prevent unauthorized access.

However, improper implementation of the content provider system can lead to vulnerabilities.

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Microsoft researchers found that the misuse of custom intents, which facilitate communication between Android app components, could expose sensitive areas of apps.

Vulnerable apps might not adequately verify filenames or paths, allowing malicious apps to insert harmful code disguised as legitimate files.

Once attackers exploit the “Dirty Stream” vulnerability, they could trick vulnerable apps into overwriting crucial files in their private storage, gaining complete control of the app and accessing sensitive user data or intercepting private login information.

Microsoft’s research indicates that this is not an isolated issue, as many popular Android apps, including Xiaomi’s File Manager with over a billion installations and WPS Office with around 500 million, are affected.

Dimitrios Valsamaras from Microsoft highlighted the vast number of affected devices, noting that several vulnerable apps identified in the Google Play Store collectively have over four billion installations.

Microsoft has actively shared its findings and notified developers of potentially vulnerable apps, collaborating with them to deploy fixes. The companies acknowledged the issues in their software swiftly.

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Google has also taken steps to prevent such vulnerabilities by updating its application security guidelines, now emphasizing the exploitable common design flaws in content providers.

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Microsoft Exposes Major Android App Vulnerability Impacting Billions

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