Scientists have developed an innovative firewall program that can protect smartphones from malicious codes and security threats.
Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU), Israel, discovered a security vulnerability in the internal communications between Android cellphone components and phone’s CPU. They alerted Android developer Google and helped the company address the problem.
Our technology doesn’t require device manufacturers to understand or modify any new code, said, Yossi Oren from BGU. It’s a firewall that can be implemented as a tiny chip, or as an independent software module running on the CPU.
Around 400 million people change their phone’s components, such as touch screens, chargers, and battery or sensor assemblies. Which are all susceptible to significant security breaches and attacks.
These components referred as “field replaceable units (FRUs),” communicate with the phone CPU over simple interfaces with no authentication mechanisms or error detection capabilities.
A malicious vendor could add a compromised FRU to a phone, leaving it vulnerable to password and financial theft, fraud, malicious photo or video distribution, and unauthorized app downloads. This problem especially acute in the Android market with many manufacturers that operate independently.
This type of attack occurs outside phone’s storage area. It can survive phone factory resets, remote wipes and firmware updates. Existing security solutions cannot prevent this specific security issue. There is no way for the phone itself to discover that it’s under this type of an attack.
Researchers said, our solution prevents a malicious or misconfigured FRU from compromising the code running on the CPU by checking all the incoming and outgoing communication.
The researchers use machine learning algorithms to monitor the phones internal communications for irregularity that may indicate malicious code. The software identifies and prevent hardware-generated data leaks and hacks. The researchers are seeking to further test the patent-pending technology with phone manufacturers.
More information: [firewall]