Under the name “QualPwn,” Tencent Chinese security experts have released vulnerabilities in Qualcomm processors. Qualcomm and Google have already released updates so that Android can not be attacked over the gaps.
The three holes cover the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and Snapdragon 845 processors, and thus a large number of smartphones from numerous manufacturers in recent years. Using the gaps, attackers can attack the smartphones via the modem via WLAN and thus compromise the Android kernel. The gaps are therefore particularly relevant because the attacked ones themselves do not fall for phishing or malware or must install them, but the attackers can independently get access to the smartphone from the outside.
Same WLAN is enough for attack
In order to perform an attack, victims and attackers must be connected to the same Wi-Fi network. While users in private WLANs are thus largely secure, public WLANs offer a potential field of attack. Since the gaps represent a combination of Android software and modem hardware, both Android needs to be updated, as well as the firmware of the modem to be updated. Qualcomm released a patch to the smartphone makers at the beginning of June. Google closes the gap in Android with the Android Security Patch August 2019.
Install the latest security updates
Users of smartphones who receive the security updates directly from Google should make sure they have the latest update installed. Other users will have to wait until the smartphone manufacturer provides an update, which can sometimes take weeks or even months.
The three vulnerabilities are listed as CVE-2019-10539, CVE-2019-10540, and CVE-2019-10538. The first two relate to the wireless and cellular modem, the latter refers to the resulting attack on the Android kernel. The two modem holes are considered critical, CVE-2019-10538 with high.
Gaps are not used yet
Tencent plans to release more details about the vulnerabilities as part of Black Hat USA 2019 this week. So far, there are no indications that the vulnerabilities have already been actively exploited.
Update 06.08.2019 20:30 o'clock