SonarSnoop Framework Can Track User's Touch

This is not a replacement for the usual touchscreen, but the developers with this research wanted to point out a new possible vector of attack
05 September 2018   915

A group of scientists from Sweden and the United Kingdom developed the SonarSnoop framework, which allows to track touch on the screen of a smartphone. The technology works by the method of echolocation, using the standard equipment of the device. This is not a replacement for the usual touchscreen, but the developers wanted to point out a new possible vector of attack by their research. This is reported by Russian IT media Xakep.

The smartphone's speakers are used to generate sound at frequencies of 18 to 20 kilohertz, which a humancan not hear. Microphones catch signals reflected from a finger or stylus. The received data is processed to obtain possible patterns of motion. Most modern devices have a pair of speakers and microphones, which allows to get a fairly accurate result.

SolarSnoop Framework
SolarSnoop Framework

The published work demonstrates the possibility of stealing graphic keys. For the experiment, the developers of SonarSnoop chose a Samsung Galaxy S4. Theoretically there are 389,112 possible variants of the graphic key, however, practice shows that the most popular is only 12.

Ten volunteers were offered to reproduce these keys in a special application on smartphones. The researchers decided to abandon the standard Android solution for reading graphics keys. Own software should provide more control over the course of the experiment.

Only SonarSnoop was installed directy on the devices in order to collect data, processing was performed on a separate computer. With the best method of processing, it was possible to reduce the average number of possible options from 12 to 2.71. And in some cases, the program immediately gave the right version.

SonarSnoop still exists in the form of a concept demonstrating the possibility of using echolocation. The effectiveness of the technology depends heavily on the particular device model. At the same time, developers noted that background noise has virtually no effect on the result.

Security professionals are constantly looking for and regularly detect the vulnerabilities of modern digital devices. In late August, researchers published information about the vulnerability of smartphones, inherited them from modem 80-ies of the last century.

Vulnerabilities to be Found in Android & Google Photo

As reported, they are already patched, but affected millions of users around the world
21 March 2019   122

Detected bugs in Android and Google Photos, which led to data leaks. They are already patched, but affected millions of users around the world.

The Android vulnerability was covered in the WebView component and affected all versions of Android from 4.4 and above. WebView allows you to embed web browsing into an Android application and was originally part of Chromium. This means that the vulnerability applies not only to the mobile version of Chrome, but to all Android browsers based on this engine.

Using a vulnerability in WebView, an attacker could gain access to user accounts, browser history and other data.

It turns out that the web version of the Google Photo service revealed user data when attacking via third-party channels. An attacker can get the metadata of the photos, as well as information about where the picture was taken.