Yet more Android vulnerabilities discovered – 10m users potentially affected

Following news earlier this month that budget Android phones had been pre-installed with malware, another story about Android vulnerabilities emerges.

According to a report by Palo Alto Networks, a backdoor known as ‘CoolReaper’ has been discovered in the software that powers at least 24 models made by Coolpad, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer. The flaw allows hackers to download and install software – including malware – without the user’s permission.

So far, the impact of CoolReaper has only hit China, but as Coolpad’s global market share – currently 3.7% – grows, the vulnerability will present an increasing threat to users worldwide. In China, Coolpad devices already outsell Apple and Samsung products, and the company aims to have sold 60 million phones worldwide by the end of 2014.

Palo Alto Networks’ report says:

“We do not know how many Coolpad devices contain the CoolReaper backdoor. Considering that CoolReaper appears to have been developed and embedded into 24 phone models in the last 12 months, and the Coolpad sales targets published by IDC, it’s possible that over 10m users have been affected.”

BYOD implications

The CoolReaper vulnerability is the latest in a long line of security issues affecting Android phones. According to a report from Cisco, “when mobile malware is intended to compromise a device, 99 percent of all encounters target Android devices”.

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