[Report] 178 Million Android Phones At Risk in Middle East and Africa
More than 94 percent of popular Android applications used in the Middle East and Africa are potentially vulnerable, amounting to 178 million devices according to Palo Alto Networks.
Android Internal Storage is a protected area that Android-based applications use to store private information, including usernames and passwords. However, an attacker may be able to steal sensitive information from most of the applications on an Android device using the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) backup/restore function.
In addition, most of the security enhancements added by Google to prevent this type of attack can be bypassed.
Saeed Agha, General Manager - Middle East, Palo Alto Networks, said: “We encourage users to be aware and Google to take a closer look at this storage weakness in Android. Given Android’s place as the region’s most popular mobile operating system, millions of users are potentially at risk here in the Middle East and Africa.”
- In the Middle East & Africa, Android has the largest market share of all platforms, at 40 percent.
- Anyone using a device running version 4.0 of Android – about 85 percent of Android systems in use today in the Middle East – is potentially vulnerable
- Of the estimated 525.8 million mobile phone owners is the Middle East and Africa, this equates to over 178 million phones at risk in the Middle East and Africa.
- To use ADB, an attacker would need physical access to the device, whether borrowing or stealing it from the user; an attacker could also take control of a system to which the device is connected via USB
- Over 94 percent of popular Android applications, including pre-installed email and browser applications, use the backup system, meaning users are vulnerable
- Many Android applications will store user passwords in plain text in Android Internal Storage, meaning almost all popular e-mail clients, FTP clients and SSH client applications are vulnerable
- Google has set the default for applications to allow back-ups; application developers are responsible for disabling the feature or otherwise restricting backups; however, the high percentage of applications that have not disabled or restricted backups suggests many developers are unaware of the risks
Palo Alto Networks recommends Android users disable USB debugging when not needed, and application developers to protect Android users by setting android:allowBackup to false in each Android application’s AndroidManifest.xml file or restricting backups from including sensitive information using a BackupAgent.
HCL: Helping businesses adapt for the digital age
Possessing a distinguished 44-year heritage in the sector, HCL Technologies (formerly Hindustan Computers Limited) is an Indian multinational headquartered in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.
With a client base that includes half of the Fortune 500 and 650 of the Global 2000, its expertise and value as a partner for digital transformation are well recognised.
“Enterprises across industries stand at an inflection point today,” states HCL on its . “In order to thrive in the digital age, technologies such as analytics, cloud, IoT, and automation occupy centre stage.”
The HCL approach
HCL has managed to carve its renowned reputation on the basis of a highly innovative and specialised approach stemming from three key concepts:
- : inverting the “organisational pyramid”, HCL empowers front line workers to develop concepts derived from their first-hand understanding of the customer experience.
- : the sum of strong values combined with culture, HCL fosters trust, transparency, and flexibility to fulfill customers’ best interests
- : this combines ‘core services’ with ‘next-gen services’, products and platforms to create a distinctive three-layer digital enterprise
The company is focused on delivering “technology for the next decade, today,” and its reach extends across the industry spectrum, from aerospace and defense to banking, healthcare, retail and more.
Tech against COVID-19
HCL has taken the challenge of COVID-19 and met it . Working with clients and partners to ensure their needs continue to be met, it has spearheaded efforts based on empathy, an employee-first approach to operations, embracing remote working capabilities, and continuing to explore technological innovation.
This is indicative of the care and attention to detail that HCL brings to everything it does. Cited by SAP’s Nis Boy Naeve, VP of Platform Adoption Enablement, for strong contributions to its , it is, perhaps, no surprise that HCL was labeled a “knowledgeable and valuable” partnership.
Read more about SAP and HCL in the April ‘21 edition of Technology Magazine