Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphones Vulnerable to Hackers

Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphones Vulnerable to Hackers


Smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4 phone are vulnerable to hackers, despite the much-vaunted enterprise software called Knox in them, according to Israeli Ben-Gurion University security researchers. Hackers can get at your email, personal data, and other information you would like to keep private, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Supposedly, the Knox enterprise security software is as secure as Blackberry software. Up until this revelation by the Ben-Gurion University researchers, at least, the U.S. government was contemplating using the Samsung Galaxy phones.

Samsung, while not denying that there’s a potential for their Knox security software to be hacked, are downplaying that possibility. Samsung said to the Wall Street Journal that businesses and others who might use their phones would have other sorts of software at their disposal to prevent any such hacks from occurring. Still, the company is investigating into the issues raised by the researchers.

With the demise of Blackberry, other smartphone companies like Samsung and Apple are trying to fill the market niche for secure and reliable smartphones and other devices. The Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones were the Korean company’s latest attempt at filling this niche. A few months ago, the Pentagon okayed the use by the Department of Defense of Apple’s iPads and iPhones. Currently, Samsung smartphones and other devices also have this approval.

How does the Knox enterprise security software for the Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones work?

Samsung’s Knox security software creates what they call a “container.” The container is supposed to by impervious to security violations, like the attempts of hackers to break into it. Samsung’s container runs a different, unique execution environment for data and apps. This is supposed to prevent any apps that are ran outside of the container from accessing the data within it.

However, the Israeli researchers have figured out a way for hackers to get to the data within the container, which is a blow to the idea that having a container that runs a separate execution environment somehow means your data is secure. The “vulnerability” the researchers have discovered can enable hackers to steal saved data, track emails, and listen into phone calls.

Researcher Mordechai Guri, who works at Ben-Gurion University’s Cyber security Lab, was the person to originally discover this security hole. Guri figured out that if hackers used malicious apps they disguised as games or other programs, and are downloaded to the non-secure part of the Galaxy S4 smartphones, the “malware could be activated to record all data communication taking place inside the container.”

In a statement from Samsung, they have said that users of their Galaxy S4 smartphones shouldn’t worry about the possibilities that the Israeli researchers discovered that their smartphones and Knox software are vulnerable to attacks by hackers. Their statement reads that “the core Knox architecture cannot be compromised or infiltrated by such malware.”

Just how secure are your smartphones? Whenever a smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 or the latest Apple iPhone comes out claiming that their software makes their smartphones secure from hackers, it’s not very long before hackers find a way around the security precautions. It might be that no smartphone can ever be called truly impervious to security breaches, though some come closer than others at attaining the goal.

Written by: Douglas Cobb

SFGate.com
UberGizmo.com
BestTechie.com

7 Responses to "Samsung Galaxy S4 Smartphones Vulnerable to Hackers"

  1. Tiberius   December 27, 2013 at 6:31 am

    It’s a shame the so-called punters pontificating think they can code. Coding is different to using someone else’s software. to code, it is a good idea if you can spell; similar to junk scam emails. it stands to reason, thick people will fall for scams distributed by thick people.

    Reply
  2. Alex   December 25, 2013 at 2:12 am

    One reason why I’m sticking to iPhone

    Reply
  3. Barack Obama (@likeapresident)   December 25, 2013 at 12:37 am

    These Israeli researchers didn’t figure out jack, this is a well known user-enabled vulnerability.

    The only way to get your S4 affected would be to install a compromised game or other software app, outside of Google Play.

    And it’s user-enabled as the ability to install software outside of Google Play is disabled by default on all Android devices not just the popular Samsung devices.

    Companies can simply restrict access to Security-Settings on Android mobile devices, or implement IT security policy prohibiting the use of install from “unknown sources”.

    In the mean time, long live the death of Black of Blackberry.

    I’ll never forget that previous CEO’s comments, ‘tablets are a fad and will be gone in 5 years’. then he kills off their Playbook tablet line. Good riddance .

    Reply
  4. eddie Thiele   December 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    If its code it can be hacked.If

    Reply
  5. blah   December 24, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    yup all are , including apple ,just because most people dont know programing on mac stuff since 70% of hackers are on PC, doesnt mean your not vulnerable

    Reply
  6. silly   December 24, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    All your phones are belong to us

    Reply
  7. Chayfo   December 24, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    All phones/devices are vulnerable to hackers. LOL!

    Reply

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