Suspected security hole found in many Samsung devices

Developer finds vulnerability in Exynos 4-powered devices, including the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note, that bypasses system permissions, letting data be extracted from RAM or malicious code be injected.

Samsung's Galaxy Note 2.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 2. Josh Miller/CNET

A suspected security hole affecting a handful of Samsung smartphones could give apps access to user data and leave the handset vulnerable to malicious apps and bricking, according to a developer.

The vulnerability, which was discovered and detailed by an XDA member with the handle "alephzain," lies in Exynos 4, the ARM-based system-on-chip typically found in Samsung smartphones and tablets. Alephzain developed an exploit he said bypasses the system permissions, allowing any app to extract data from the device's RAM or inject malicious code into the kernel.

Alephzain said that he stumbled upon the vulnerability while trying to find a new way to root his Galaxy S3, but that the exploit affects the Galaxy S2, Galaxy Note, and Meizu MX as well. However, the Nexus 10 is unaffected as it uses the Exynos 5 chip.

"The good news is we can easily obtain root on these devices and the bad is there is no control over it," alephzain writes.

CNET has contacted Samsung for comment for comment and will update this report when we learn more.

About the author

Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. Before joining CNET News in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.

 

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