Skip to main content

SmartPhone Pwn2Own Results Reflect Security of the Device?

Since the CanSecWest conference last week a few people on the net have been reporting (Gizmodo, Slashdot, Engadget) that because none of the smartphone platforms were compromised (I think there was only a single attempt if I heard right) and that these devices must be inherently secure or a lot harder to hack than Safari and the rest of the browser crew.

After hanging out with a few of the researchers at the conference, and witnessing first-hand some of the technical prowess they possess, it seems a little strange to me that the security of these handsets pose a challenge to these people.

Adding to my skeptisim is the fact that many of the researchers at the conference were supporting the stance of "no more free bugs". Which I support - as there is a very real thriving underground economy for bugs and exploits - and researchers deserve to get compensated for the knowledge and expertice, not to mention that the pwn2own contest rules sign-over ownership of the bug to TippingPoint (ZDI) for basically the cost of the hardware plus 10K.

My theory on why the smartphones survived the pwn2own ordeal is not that they are uber-secure, but that the researchers know that the bugs they have for them (and based on what these guys can do on platforms that have been secured for years they DO have them) felt that the compensation that they were being offered does not even come close to the value the bugs have to other potential buyers and future uses.

I would argue that bugs on these platforms are much more valuable than say a browser exploit, or Vista hack, as taking control of a smartphone with its advanced functionality, personal connection to the owner and lack of security awareness for the platform.

Anyway, my little theory on smartphone security.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Local Classified Penny Auction Scam

While there are a lot of new posts regarding the new ways to exploit people using novel techniques and 0day exploits, there continues to be a rash of tried and true methods of coercion.  I want to just walk through a simple example and reflect on how effective these methods continue to be. Many people turn toward online classified sites to buy and sell items online.  This example starts with kijiji.ca which even I've used on occasion to find used electronics and other items.  Doing a search on the site for a " Samsung Galaxy Note 2 " returns a posting from today with someone selling one for an unreasonably priced unit. $125 for a $500 phone?, but what if it's for real?  No harm in just asking some simple questions.  Email sent with some obvious questions regarding the condition and location. About an hour passes before I get a response from what appears to be a legit seller. Notice no answer to the questions I asked, but a friendly pointer at where th

Anti-virus Statistics - Motivations

In a study completed and published by Avira ( http://www.avira.com/en/company_news/recognition_performance_virus_protection.html ) The results of the survey showed that for 34 percent (3,207 respondents) a long-established, trustworthy brand was key. Almost as many users, 33 percent (3,077 respondents), based their decision on the virus detection rates achieved in independent tests. Detection rates - lets call this effectiveness of the control - as this is the key metric used to measure effectiveness. This is a skewed metric as for the large majority of evaluations (ICSALabs, VB100, etc) use the "in-the-wild" or ITW list of viruses to perform the evaluations. There is no evaluation of these product's ability to respond or even detect newly released virus and malware. In all honesty really what we are dealing with here is preventative vulnerability management not virus detection and correction, and in my opinion there are four types of preventative protections required f

OpenSolaris, ZFS, iSCSI and OSX - Creative Storage - Part II

In part I of this post, I looked at the simple steps required to setup a relatively simple storage solution using OpenSolaris, ZFS, iSCSI and OSX. This was about a month ago, and I've made some significant changes on how this is used for me. At the end of the last post I left off on the part dealing with configuration of the iSCSI initiator side of the solution. I stopped here because there were some issues related to the installation and use of the software. The iSCSI initiator that I was using was Studio Network Solutions GlobalSAN initiator (version 3.3.0.43) which is used to allow for connections to their products. This software will also allow for connections to ANY iSCSI target! After the configuration of the iSCSI target on the ZFS pool, and installation of the client it was trivial to get the connection established with the storage pool, and it showed up in OSX as a raw disk which had not been formatted. I proceeded to format the disk as HFS+ and it then mounted as a lo