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Another Security Concern through OnePlus — Backdoor Root App Comes Preinstalled on Millions of Phones « Android :: Gadget Hacks

After recently being from the news for collecting PII (personally identifiable information) for analytics as well as also after-sales support, OnePlus has another security problem. An individual going by the name Elliot Alderson discovered an app in OnePlus devices that will can enable root access with one command.

Although we as Android users aspire to root our devices, we are aware of the risk that will rooting provides. With an app that will simplifies the process, millions of devices are currently vulnerable.

Rooting provides system access to Android devices. By accessing the root folder, users can make improvements that will could otherwise be impossible without This particular privilege. However, This particular same privilege could be used by another individual to conduct a particularly nasty attack on your device.

The same level of control that will you may use harmlessly can be used to extract PII, listen to conversations, as well as also many different attacks that will could harm you financially. With an app simplifying This particular process, anyone within physical access to your device (or even remote access using malware) can exploit This particular backdoor.

The app is usually called EngineerMode as well as also was designed by Qualcomm to perform tests before deploying phones out to the public. OEMs are anticipated to remove This particular app once the testing is usually completed due to This particular vulnerability.

The app can perform numerous tests including diagnosing sensors, checking root status, as well as also providing root access without unlocking the bootloader.

Therein lies the problem: Android has security mechanisms in place to ensure that will once a phone’s bootloader is usually unlocked to enable root using traditional methods, all data is usually automatically wiped. yet since This particular app can grant root without unlocking the bootloader, another app that will exploited This particular backdoor could bypass these security mechanisms as well as also theoretically access all of your existing data.

Elliot Alderson, upon discovering the application, speculated that will the idea could be used to root devices by finding a simple password. The NowSecure Research Team answered the call as well as also learned the password that will enables This particular simple root method OnePlus devices. To root a device, the DiagEnabled function must be launched through the app. This particular function carries a method called escalatedUp which, when given the correct password, will root devices.

By inputting the following command using ADB, you can root your device:

adb shell am start -n com.android.engineeringmode/.qualcomm.DiagEnabled –es “code” “angela”

Once entered, ADB will disconnect as well as also restart. Once you re-enter ADB, you will find that will your device is usually rooted — with no superuser management tool like SuperSU to dole out root access, as well as also more importantly, to deny root access to certain apps.

Update 1: More Devices Found with EngineerMode

the idea looks like This particular application has been discovered on different devices. Since the idea’s a Qualcomm application, any device using a Qualcomm SoC could potentially still have This particular APK installed.

According to Alderson, devices through Xiaomi, Motorola, as well as also ASUS have been found with This particular app on consumer types. To see if the app is usually on your device, navigate to the “Apps” menu in Settings, then tap the three-dot menu button from the upper-right corner (or along the bottom of the screen) as well as also select “Show System processes.” through there, if you see an app called “EngineerMode,” your device is usually vulnerable to This particular exploit.

OnePlus’s Carl Pei has replied to Elliot Alderson, stating “Thanks for the heads up, we’re looking into the idea,” indicating a future update will remove This particular system app. Hopefully, a complete list of affected devices will emerge so different OEMs will also send out a fix.

from the meantime, according to Alderson, the upcoming OnePlus 5T will possess the same app preinstalled. Hopefully, OnePlus can get to the bottom of This particular soon.

Update 2: OnePlus Responds

Well that will was fast. OnePlus staff member OmegaHsu posted on the OnePlus forum Monday night addressing the issue.

from the post, OmegaHsu explains that will, although EngineerMode can potentially root the device via ADB commands, third parties cannot trigger the exploit to acquire root privileges. An app cannot send ADB commands through within Android, so EngineeringMode theoretically shouldn’t be susceptible to malware attacks like the recently discovered Toast Overlay bug.

The process could also need USB debugging to be enabled from the phone’s settings, which is usually disabled by default as well as also could require physical access to enable. OmegaHsu further explains that will, due to customer concern, ADB root commands will be removed through EngineerMode in a coming OTA, although the company does not see ADB root as a security threat.

So, what do you think? With the OnePlus 5T announcing in a few days, does This particular latest security problem make you reconsider the device? Let us know from the comments below. Stay tuned to Gadget Hacks for more updates on This particular story.

Don’t Miss: OnePlus 5T Rumor Roundup — All the Latest Leaks & News on the Upcoming Flagship

Cover image as well as also screenshots by Jennifer Welsh/Gadget Hacks

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