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Ice Cream Sandwich Clickjacking Easy as Pie

A research team at North Carolina State University developed a proof-of-concept prototype rootkit for Android 4.0.4 OS to demonstrate that clickjacking attacks can be pulled off effortlessly.

The novelty behind this rootkit is that it attacks the Android framework rather than performing deep modifications of the underlying kernel, like previous exploits did. For example, the rootkit could hide or redirect a particular app (or all apps) and replace it with a fake one that could be designed to steal personal information or sniff credit card data.

Clickjacking is particularly dangerous because the rootkit that’s bundled with an infected app could manipulate the smartphone without arousing the user’s suspicion. The malicious code starts running without having to reboot the device, making it the most dangerous type of attack to date. Installing background apps is within the rootkit’s capabilities, implying that attackers can customize their attacks based on specific goals.

“This would be a more sophisticated type of attack than we’ve seen before,” says Professor Xuxian Jiang, leader of the research team, “specifically tailored to smartphone platforms. The rootkit was not that difficult to develop, and no existing mobile security software is able to detect it. But there is good news. Now that we’ve identified the problem, we can begin working on ways to protect against attacks like these.”

The research team claims that no mobile security software can detect the rootkit, but they’re currently exploring ways of neutralizing the threat. The UI readdressing attack is demonstrated in a small video posted by Professor Juang’s team, in which a stock Nexus S is used to prove the attack.

About the author


Liviu Arsene is the proud owner of the secret to the fountain of never-ending energy. That's what's been helping him work his everything off as a passionate tech news editor for the past couple of years. He is the youngest and most restless member of the Bitdefender writer team and he covers mobile malware and security topics with fervor and a twist. His passions revolve around gadgets and technology, and he's always ready to write about what's hot and trendy out there in geek universe.

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