Security researchers this week identified that camera in Google Pixel smartphones can easily spy on you. According to Erez Yalon and Pedro Umbelino, security researchers at cyber security firm Checkmarx, they found that vulnerabilities impact the camera apps of smartphone vendors like Google Pixel and some Samsung devices in the Android ecosystem, presenting significant implications to hundreds-of-millions of smartphone users. Apple is planning to supply special iPhones to security researchers to help them tackle malicious hackers before they trespass or damage systems and to discover flaws and vulnerabilities better.
Software giant Microsoft has also announced its Azure Security Lab, intended to give experts a sandbox-like safe environment to test its Cloud security services better.
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Google has now matched Apple in rewarding bug hunters. After further digging, they found that these same vulnerabilitie s impact the camera apps of other smartphone vendors in the Android ecosystem - namely Samsung. Additionally, they found that certain attack scenarios enable malicious actors to circumvent various storage permission policies, giving them access to stored videos and photos, "as well as GPS metadata embedded in photos, to locate the user by taking a photo or video".
It is known that Android camera applications usually store their photos and videos on the SD card. Since photos and videos are sensitive user information, in order for an application to access them, it needs special permissions: storage permissions. There are a large number of applications, with legitimate use-cases, that request access to this storage, yet have no special interest in photos or videos," said the researchers. Additionally, if the location is enabled in the camera app, the rogue application also has a way to access the current GPS position of the phone and user.
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Google said that "We appreciate Checkmarx bringing this to our attention and working with Google and Android partners to coordinate disclosure. A patch has also been made available to all partners," the company said.
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This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.