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 thatâ€™s bundled with an infected app could manipulate the smartphone without arousing the userâ€™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 rootkitâ€™s capabilities, implying that attackers can customize their attacks based on specific goals.
â€œThis would be a more sophisticated type of attack than weâ€™ve seen before,â€ says Professor Xuxian Jiang, leader of the research team, â€œspecifically 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 weâ€™ve identified the problem, we can begin working on ways to protect against attacks like these.â€
The research team claims that no mobile security software can detect the rootkit, but theyâ€™re currently exploring ways of neutralizing the threat. The UI readdressing attack is demonstrated in a small video posted by Professor Juangâ€™s team, in which a stock Nexus S is used to prove the attack.