As Android continues to dominate the mobile market, it paints a target on its back for hackers. Quadrooter is the latest malware that has the mobile world in an uproar.
Affecting Qualcomm chips, this nasty bit of code obtains root access over your device. Qualcomm devices make up a very large share of the Android device markets hardware, some 65% of all devices contain their chips. Using driver level vulnerabilities to get root access, Quadrooter can get access to and share any and all data on your device.
Can we protect ourselves from this threat? Yes and no. There are the obvious methods of protection,
Don’t sideload apps from untrusted sources
Don’t use hacked apps or games that give you paid features for free
Be aware of the permissions an app is asking for
If an app that shouldn’t need access to your device’s microphone or media, is suddenly asking for it, chances are good that it isn’t legit.
Google has stated that using the “Verify Apps” option in your settings, effectively blocks Quadrooter from installation. This option, introduced in 2012, protects ~90% of the 900 million devices thought to be affected. Android users running Gingerbread and up have this option. Gingerbread to Jellybean 4.2 users must manually enable the feature in the Security section of the Settings app. 4.2 users and up, should be protected by default.
Other methods of protection include keeping your device up to date. The August security update addressed three of the four attack vectors, with the fourth coming in a later push. If you have an update available, you should take it. This leaves you at the mercy of your OEM and service carrier, however. Historically, OEM’s and carriers have been notoriously horrible at updating firmware for anything but their latest and greatest flagship devices. Even the Nexus line, which receives the latest updates from Google, is technically still vulnerable to this bit of malware.
You can check to see if your device is vulnerable by using Quadrooter Scanner, an app by Check Point Software Technologies.
Carl is an Android enthusiast that got his start with an HTC Hero. Quickly tiring of not being able to change certain things about the device, he sought out the means to do what he wanted; Enter XDA Developers. After spending immense amounts of time on the forums learning, building and sharing, Carl decided to pursue higher education to increase his understanding and focus on a direction in the mobile world. Primarily focusing on security and privacy, Carl intends to gain his CEH and Reverse Engineer malware.