Million Times Downloaded Android Apps Exposed to High-severity Vulnerabilities

A framework used by Android apps has been found to have high severity flaws by Microsoft security researchers. Multiple large mobile service providers across the world have been observed to have this security flaw in their apps.

Having identified the vulnerability, all involved parties have taken the necessary steps to fix it. Millions of apps had been impacted as a result of this.

A mobile framework built by MCE Systems has been found to contain vulnerabilities that could lead to command injection and privilege escalation attacks when exploited.

On Google’s Play Store, the vulnerable apps have been downloaded by millions and all these vulnerable applications are preinstalled on devices that are made by companies affected by the breach and on which they are preinstalled as system apps.

Affected operators

Here below we have mentioned all the operators that are affected:-

  • AT&T
  • TELUS
  • Rogers Communications
  • Bell Canada
  • Freedom Mobile

There is an automatic safety check performed on each of the apps in the Google Play Store. However, they didn’t check for these things or problems previously.

While as a result of the problem being fixed, and, mce Systems has updated its framework and provided updates to the affected vendors.

Flaws detected

Here’s below we have mentioned all the flaws that were detected:-

  • CVE-2021-42598
  • CVE-2021-42599
  • CVE-2021-42600
  • CVE-2021-42601

Permissions and access

Here below we have mentioned all the permission and access requested:-

  • Access the internet
  • Modify Wi-Fi state
  • Modify network state
  • Access to NFC
  • Access to Bluetooth
  • File access with read and write capabilities.
  • Access the camera
  • Access to audio recorder
  • Get fingerprint information
  • Access to the device’s physical location
  • Access to phone numbers
  • Access to account information
  • Access to contacts
  • Permission to install apps
  • Modify device settings

Recommendation

If an Android app was installed by several mobile phone repair shops, some Android devices might be vulnerable to attacks using these flaws.

While the cybersecurity analysts at Microsoft have strongly recommended that anyone who finds this application installed on their Android smartphone then remove it as quickly as possible to get rid of it.

However, Microsoft has not yet disclosed the entire list of affected apps and providers of mobile services.

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