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Samsung 'reset' vulnerability discovered - be careful out there!


A vulnerability has emerged, courtesy of long time Android hacker Pof, which provides the potential for a Samsung handset to be hard reset just by visiting a page containing a specific piece of HTML. Erk!

The issue, which uses HTML to tell the device to run the reset code, applies to the stock Android browser but not to Chrome, so if you are on ICS upwards I would strongly recommend you avoid using the regular browser should your device be vulnerable.

The exploit has been confirmed working on a large number of Samsung devices (including some software releases on the Galaxy S III). You can test if you're vulnerable by crafting as a page shown below but, well, you're potentially gonna blow away your device in the process. :)

Additional USSD codes could potentially also be triggered doing further mischief on your device so it is quite a nasty issue and one that Samsung are apparently looking into now - we'll update the topic as further information becomes available.

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About the author

PaulOBrien's Photo
Paul O'Brien founded MoDaCo in 2002 as a site focused on Windows Smartphones and has grown it since then by concentrating on providing a friendly community for both experienced and beginner mobile enthusiasts.

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12 Comments

Just wondering, but if you had an app watching for a TEL: intent, possibly with a warning if it was a USSD command which then said do you wish to continue be possible?
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That might work...

P
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what about firefox?
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Just install something like "Dialer One" from Play Store. That will then become an alternative "tel" protocol handler and you will be prompted for handling app first if you haven't set a default. Also Dialer One isn't vulnerable and will require the user to confirm anyway unlike the stock dialler which just goes ahead with no user confirmation or prompting. Other Dial apps can also be installed.

Has been discovered that Huawei G300 on GB and ICS ROMs is vulnerable to the USSD attack. Not known if it has a "self-destruct" code yet though. See thread (including more details on workaround) at http://www.modaco.co...-vulnerability/
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Latest news is saying that this has "already been fixed in latest version"
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not just samsung apparently?
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Yeah, concerning! :blink:

P
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Colossae3.23
Sep 26 2012 12:08 PM
there's an app for that :-)

https://play.google.....telstop&rdot=1

Thanks to Cyda, for the heads up
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moochermick
Sep 26 2012 11:43 PM
other browsers tested same result.
http://securitywatch...d-hack-now-what
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https://gist.github.com/3801768 is the change to block/defeat the exploit :)
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Colossae3.23
Oct 01 2012 01:13 PM

https://gist.github.com/3801768 is the change to block/defeat the exploit data:image/png;base64,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



Sorry if I'm being dull, but what do I do with this file? Its not zipped, so it's not flashable, right?

Also, is it better than the telstop app? I have that installed, but it seems to update every day (probably at least 4 times since installing it last week). If your fix gets to the heart of the matter, then it should be a better solution?

Thanks
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Colossae3.23
Oct 02 2012 09:05 PM
avast! has just sent an update that now covers the USSD vulnerability. Good app that...
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