Thursday, September 20, 2012

iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3 Hacked At Mobile Pwn2Own

TippingPoint DVLabs and the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) the major sponsors for the infamous Pwn2Own hacking contest have created a new mobile only version of the Pwn2Own competition. The primary goal of the new contest is to demonstrate the current security level of the most prevalent mobile technologies in use today; including attacks on mobile web browsers, mobile operating system, Near Field Communication (NFC), Short Message Service (SMS), and the cellular baseband.

During this week's competition held alongside the 2012 EUSecWest conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands, hackers had the chance to try to exploit several of today's most popular phones running the latest operating systems on the market. Among the options were several Android based phones, an Apple iPhone 4S running iOS 5.1.1, a BlackBerry Bold 9900 and two phones running Windows Phone 7.5.

As of today only two phones had been exploited. The first being the iPhone 4S which was exploited via a bug in WebKit. According to ZDNet security researchers Joost Pol and Daan Keuper, of Certified Secure, exploited a WebKit vulnerability to launch a drive-by-download to hijack the address book, photos, videos, and browsing history from a fully patched iPhone 4S.

The attack works on iOS 5.1.1 and the developer release of iOS 6, as well as on the iPad, iPhone 4, and previous versions of the iPod Touch, Pol told ZDNet.

The second phone to fall victim to hackers was the Samsung Galaxy S3which was hacked via NFC, allowing the attackers to download all the data from the Android based smartphone. Researchers from security company MWR Labs were able to to beam an malicious file over a NFC (Near Field Communication) connection by holding two Galaxy S3s next to each other.

Using this technique, a file is loaded on the targeted S3. The file is then automatically opened and gets full permissions, meaning that the attacker has full control over the phone, explained Tyrone Erasmus, security researcher at MWR. The app runs in the background so the victim is unaware of the attack. The attacker can gain access to all SMS messages, pictures, emails, contact information and much more. The payload is very advanced, so attackers can "basically do anything on that phone," the researchers said.

The exploit is aimed at a document viewer application that comes as a default installed app on the Galaxy S2, S3 and some HTC phones, the researchers said. They wouldn't say which specific app is targeted because they did not want others to take advantage of the exploit. The vulnerability was tested on both the S2 and the S3, and worked on both phones, they said.

For their successful exploits both teams were rewarded $30,000 cash and other prizes, such as a BlackBerry Playbook tablet from sponsor Research in Motion.For more details on the Pwn2Own mobile contest you can follow either @thezdi on Twitter or search for the hash tag #pwn2own.For details on the phones used in the contest or contest rules checkout the TippingPoint Blog.

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