Finally, here we have a vulnerability which targets Android developers as well as also reverse engineers, instead of app users.
Security researchers have discovered an easily-exploitable vulnerability in Android application developer tools, both downloadable as well as also cloud-based, which could allow attackers to steal files as well as also execute malicious code on vulnerable systems remotely.
The issue was discovered by security researchers at the Check Point Research Team, who also released a proof of concept (PoC) attack, which they called ParseDroid.
The vulnerability resides in a common XML parsing library “DocumentBuilderFactory,” used by the most common Android Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) like Google’s Android Studio, JetBrains’ IntelliJ IDEA as well as also Eclipse as well as the major reverse engineering tools for Android apps such as APKTool, Cuckoo-Droid as well as also more.
The ParseDroid flaw, technically known as XML External Entity (XXE) vulnerability, can be triggered when a vulnerable Android development or reverse engineering tool decodes an application as well as also tries to parse maliciously crafted “AndroidManifest.xml” file inside the idea.
In order words, all an attacker need to trigger the vulnerability can be trick the developers as well as also reverse engineers into loading a maliciously crafted APK file.
“By simply loading the malicious ‘AndroidManifest.xml’ file as part of an Android project, the IDEs starts spitting out any file configured by the attacker,” the researchers said.
Demonstration: XML External Entity (XXE) to Remote Code Execution
Besides This kind of, the XXE vulnerability can also be used to inject arbitrary files anywhere on a targeted computer to achieve full remote code execution (RCE), which makes the attack surface-wide as well as also various.
Moreover, the attacker doesn’t require to target their victims directly, as the researchers suggest “another attack scenario which can be used inside wild to attack a massive range of Android developers by injecting a malicious AAR (Android Archive Library) containing our XXE payload into repositories.”
For educational as well as also demonstration purpose, researchers have also created an online APK decoder tool which can extract the malicious file coming from an APK (in This kind of case they used a PHP web shell), allowing the attacker to execute system commands on the web application server, as shown inside video.
“The way we chose to demonstrate This kind of vulnerability, of course, can be just one of many possible attack methods which can be used to achieve full RCE,” the Check Point researchers wrote. “Indeed, the Path Traversal method lets us copy any file to any location on the file system, creating the attack surface-wide as well as also various.”
Check Point researchers Eran Vaknin, Gal Elbaz, Alon Boxiner as well as also Oded Vanunu discovered This kind of issue in May 2017 as well as also reported them to all major IDEs as well as also tools developers, including Google, JetBrains, Eclipse as well as also APKTool owner.
Most of the developers, including Google, JetBrains as well as also APKTool owner, have since fixed the issue as well as also released patched versions.
Since all the attack methods demonstrated by the researchers are cross-platform, developers as well as also reverse engineers are highly recommended to update their tools, if they haven’t yet.