Google's Project Zero security team has discovered a new zero-day Android exploit that is already in use.
The vulnerability was found in the kernel of the Android operating system and can be exploited by an attacker to gain root access to a device.
Oddly enough, the vulnerability was fixed in December 2017 in Android kernel versions 3.18, 4.14, 4.4, and 4.9, although newer versions of Android turned out to be vulnerable.
According to Google's researchers, the vulnerability concerns Pixel 2, Huawei P20, Xiaomi Redmi 5A, Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, Xiaomi A1, Oppo A3, Moto Z3, LG phones with Oreo, and Samsung S7, S8 and S9 with Android version 8 or higher ,
Since the "exploit requires little or no customization per device," it means that more Android smartphones may be affected. However, the smartphones listed above have been tested and rated by Google as susceptible to zero-day issues.
Android Zero Day
While Google's Project Zero team discovered the vulnerability for the first time, the company's Threat Analysis Group (TAG) confirmed that it was used in real-life attacks. Both teams were also responsible for recently discovering a series of zero-day vulnerabilities in Apple's iPhones.
Details about who's behind Android's Zero-Day are currently limited. According to Google's TAG, Israel-based NSO Group, which is known for selling exploits and monitoring tools, may be responsible.
But when ZDNet They shook hands with the group and said:
"NSO has not sold or will not sell exploits or vulnerabilities, and this exploit has nothing to do with NSO, and our work focuses on developing products that help licensed intelligence and law enforcement agencies save lives."
However, there is a silver lining as this new Android vulnerability is not as dangerous as in the past zero days. Although the vulnerability is classified as severe, a malicious application still needs to be installed in order to be exploited.
Google has notified its Android partners, and a patch is now available on the Android Common Kernel. Therefore, expect affected device manufacturers to begin providing updates soon.
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