Feb 20, 2014

How to avoid Android E-Z-2 Use exploit?

This exploit has been around for over a year, but I just became aware of it. It uses a WebView vulnerability to inject JavaScript in the Android browser and potentially gain access to SD card files, contacts, the file system, camera and more. Since this can be a drive-by attack using a malicious website, I’m concerned that apps could potentially direct me to one of these websites. Apparently, this was fixed in Android 4.2 and later, but I’m stuck at 4.1 on my phone and don’t expect to see an update. What can I avoid this exploit?

Wstark has a good answer for this. Here's more info on the exploit:

E-Z-2-Use attack code exploits critical bug in majority of Android phones

"Recently-released attack code exploiting a critical Android vulnerability gives attackers a point-and-click interface for hacking a majority of smartphones and tablets that run the Google operating system, its creators said.

The attack was published last week as a module to the open-source Metasploit exploit framework used by security professionals and hackers alike. The code exploits a critical bug in Android's WebView programming interface that was disclosed 14 months ago. The security hole typically gives attackers remote access to a phone's camera and file system and in some cases also exposes other resources, such as geographic location data, SD card contents, and address books. Google patched the vulnerability in November with the release of Android 4.2, but according to the company's figures, the fix is installed on well under half of the handsets it tracks."
It’s actually very easy - use the Chome or Opera browser instead of the Android browser. I’m not certain which of the other browsers don’t use WebView, but those two don’t, so you should be fine even with an older version of Android. You may have to tell some apps to use Chrome (or Opera) instead of the Android browser, but the transition should be painless. Plus both are better than the stock Android browser anyway, so you will be improving your overall experience.
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