OnePlus phones include an easily exploitable backdoor

15 November, 2017, 01:58 | Author: Juana Mckenzie
  • OnePlus comes under scanner over the issue of users’ privacy

According to mobile security researcher Robert Baptiste-otherwise known by the pseudonym Elliot Alderson, a reference to the main character in the television series "Mr. Robot"-smartphones from OnePlus have for years contained a hidden backdoor that would allow root access to the device".

Baptiste found that OnePlus was shipping devices with the Qualcomm EngineerMode app - which is used by device makers for testing and diagnostics - with its OxygenOS customised version of Google's Android operating system. If you have a OnePlus phone, you may be interested - and a little disturbed - to learn that the company is preinstalling an app that acts as a backdoor to root access.

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The developer, with the help of few cybersecurity experts, was able to discover the password and was able to root a OnePlus device with few commands.

The Engineer Mode APK is capable of diagnosing Global Positioning System, run automated tests, check root status among other things.

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OnePlus 5, OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 3 and even some OnePlus One units are vulnerable to root without the need to unlock the bootloader.

Entering the password into the EngineerMode app provides permanent root access to the Android Debug Bridge process. The developer claims that the company has left behind the software intentionally, and he will come out with the application for rooting OnePlus devices without unlocking. Check the name of native library used to check the code: door... The fact that it is preinstalled on handsets is something of a concern, and OnePlus is yet to respond to questions about the app and its potential for exploit.

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OnePlus CEO, Carl Pel, said his company is "looking into" the backdoor report. Later, Pei confirmed in a blog post that OnePlus it will scale back on data collection on its devices. It is provided to OEMs by Qualcomm engineers to allow them to test their devices.

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