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Slideshare uses cookies to improve functionality and performance, and to provide you with relevant advertising. Clipping is a handy way to collect and organize the most important slides from a presentation. The safety of our personal information is often a concern of mine - who has my email address, my phone number, my date of birth?
On April 11, a leaked version of Skype Video hit the web and, having a Thunderbolt, I had to try it. I quickly came up with an exploit, and I was in shock at just how much information I could harvest. Just a side note, the "Skype Mobile for Verizon" version of the app appears unaffected at this time. Inside the Skype data directory is a folder with the same name as your Skype username, and it's here where Skype stores your contacts, your profile, your instant message logs, and more in a number of sqlite3 databases. Skype mistakenly left these files with improper permissions, allowing anyone or any app to read them.
The Contacts table holds similar information, but on friends, family and anyone else in your contact list (that is, more than Skype exposes on other users publicly). This means that a rogue developer could modify an existing application with code from our Proof of Concept (without much difficulty), distribute that application on the Market, and just watch as all that private user information pours in. Imagine if Google accidentally leaked all of your Google Talk logs along with your e-mail address, name, and phone number - such a breach might a cause a mass user exodus, not to mention a federal inquiry. First, they can use proper file permissions, second, they should probably implement some type of encryption scheme, and third, they need to have their applications reviewed for security issues prior to release. NOTE: Android Police has published this information regarding a specific security vulnerability in the "Skype" app for Android in good faith, as a matter of general public concern.
I felt pretty secure when I downloaded the POC demo, tried to install it and my ant-virus software stopped it. So instead of contacting Skype you make it public to show the "bad" developers how to capitalize on it? Right, because it's really the guy's fault who discovered the vulnerability and is concerned for all the users out there, not those guys', who published their app with it.
I understand, showing terrorist how to build nuclear bombs usually allows for the army to act faster. Ohh you mean how everyone does the same for windows,apple, linux,unix and other OS out there. Just to clarify: Jonny's comment stated that it only affected the leaked Skype version, which isn't true. So, if we uninstall Skype, will it delete the problem files, or will this data remain exposed on the phone? It will delete them, but I am not recommending that you uninstall Skype, that is your decision. It does appear, and I have been contacting companies, and publishing such things for a year now. Yeah, proof of concept app is only used to demonstrate the issue is reproducable without root - no code seems to be public in the article.
I don't use Skype, but I wouldn't be surprised if many other apps leave personal data vulnerable. Didn't the first version of the Paypal app keep some data on your phone in plain text format? Wow, yet another David with a negative comment, what is this, the Davids Against Android Police day? Will the android polic app notify you if any of the vulnerabilities apply to software installed on your handset?
No, it won't - we're not a security blog but we do post security bulletins when we find things. The reason being that they use a native library (it's Skype, they have so far successfully obfuscated _nearly_ all of their internal protocol) to work with these files, and apparently it's run with the permissions of some other user (as in, not with the permissions of the Skype app).
If IOS and WP7 prevent apps from reading data of other apps data and Android doesn't, then NARGG's point should not be dismissed or taken lightly. Of all the applications, Skype should certainly have had their app tested properly - they make a lot of profit from it and have no reason to be this careless in development.
My opinion would be that they should hire the author to redesign the app and organise 3rd party security testing.

I've been a long time skype user on the desktop and continue to pay for a phone subscription. There is, I admit, a mistake in that the profile can be read by other users on the same computer, but how many people have multiple user accounts on their phone ?
I don't know of a single program that actually saves PII securely , with the exception of Firefox password store when using a master password. The fix would require a user to enter a passphrase (different for every app, of course) to run any application that stores personal information. I'm not even sure that would be foolproof - I'm not sure our operating systems or CPUs can protect one process's active memory against other processes running as the same userid.
As a workaround, you can install multiple encrypted containers, and configure each app so that the profile is stored in the container. So because the vulnerability doesn't effect millions of people simultaneously, they should be excused for hanging our private data out in the wind? The same goes on with Windows version (4.2 at least) and, likely, Linux and MacOSX versions as well. It's normal for Windows programs to be able to access data on disk but it's abnormal for Android apps to be able to do access data from other programs in situations when it should be specifically prohibited.
Since you are writing under a fake name, you are most likely attempting to create a market, which you will then exploit by offering a software product or security service under your real name. Also, we would ask that you reveal your REAL NAME so that we can verify that "you" are not just publishing these stories to create a market for yourself at the expense of 10 million people. Responsible disclosure is a computer security term describing a vulnerability disclosure model. Actually, I offer no such services related to android at all, beyond a few simple apps that are free (or have free versions available). Also, lets see if you name is real, because no one named Travis Munden is showing up in public records for any town near your IP address. Sadly, I had to read through all the immature troll comments to find a comment that actually gives the solution.
I suggest that the original blog post be edited to include those instructions to make it easier for others to find them. Assuming there is some user of the Droid platform that also uses skype who is from MA, then the app and the developers have violated 201 CMR 17, the MA privacy legislation. While Travis Munden's method of phrasing his thoughts is less than ideal, he is basically correct to direct you to that very widely accepted model of fault disclosure. 4) If the vendor responds, and is responding cooperatively, come to an agreement on a date of general full disclosure, taking into account when the vendor can reasonably expect to release a full patch to all of its customers.
5) On the agreed-upon date, disclose the details of the vulnerability, along with a full history of your communications with the vendor (note that this history can still be added to your post above, if you'd like to slow down the complaints on that front). There's no doubt that there's value in full disclosure, but the good guys need to help the other good guys first, rather than putting a large portion of their very own readership at risk until the vendor is able to respond. On an unrelated note, it could perhaps be considered irresponsible to look up the IP address of someone leaving a comment, solely to use it to generate tenuous counterarguments. Oh, and as for when the vendor doesn't respond in a reasonable amount of time -- well, I'd say all bets are off then. I don't agree with that model of disclosure, but I am trying it now with another "large" company exposing full unencrypted login credentials, and have gotten no response, not even automated, in the last week. I did not post his ip or expose anything about him other than the fact he was posting under a made up name, demanding my "real name".
Everything was available to the rogue app I created, without the need for root or any special permissions. But upon examining the standard version of Skype for Android (which has been available since October 2010) I discovered the same vulnerability - meaning this affects all of the at least 10 million users of the app.
Well, Skype stored the username in a static location, we can parse this file, get the username and find the path to Skype's stored data.
Moving further along, looking into the Chats table, we can see your instant messages - and that's just the tip of it. While the exploit can't steal your credit card info, the data it's harvesting is still clearly very private (chat logs linked back to your real name, address, and phone number). I guess that proves I am not a developer and don't know much if anything about coding (my only programming experience was with VB 6.0 a LONG time ago). This has nothing to do with sqlite internal encryption - data can be encrypted outside of the database and stored encrypted.

Android does protect data so other programs can't access it, unless you set it so (either on purpose, or mistake).
Good to see someone who is vigilant and not afraid to get some bad comments for the greater good. It's not like someone can easily hack millions of Skype users' personal ID, it's just that the app does not protect the user's profile against other programs run by the same user.. That would include Office, phototagging software, browsers, IM clients - probably half of all modern software. It's basically trying to design a malware-resistant computer, that is still safe when it's infected. I would just like to point out in that wall of text, "I'm not sure and I don't know" comes up quite a bit.
The security model on Android protects against this kind of stuff and Skype breaks it in the most ignorant of ways. For Windows versions where there are many more users and many more possible attack vectors, storing plaintext of sensitive data is still considered normal?
It is like full disclosure, with the addition that all stakeholders agree to allow a period of time for the vulnerability to be patched ***before*** publishing the details.
Yeah, he is offering a security service AND informing skype of the vulnerability so they can patch it. Anything I do related to android, is out of my own pure curiosity and if it is worth sharing I do.
Just because something is not mentioned in the article, doesn't mean it didn't happen or doesn't exist. In fact, if you dig around, you will see me telling people to send "my" donations to the homeless or the boys and girls club.
If the vendor hasn't yet released a patch, it might be nice to check with them to see if they need more time before the vulnerability is disclosed. I'm glad someone found the issue, for sure, but there are accepted methods of handling these situations. And it could also be considered immature to call someone an "asshat" in the comments of your own otherwise well-written blog post; at least, it's not how I would go about generating respect for my own writing. In fact, only one company has ever replied and actually done anything after being notified by me. These concerns have prompted me to take a deeper look at Android apps more than once, and often this can yield some frightening information. I think it was good to make the information public however actually publishing the code a rogue developer would need and then creating an app to do it is going to far.
I'm sure like many of you got an email from the chief information security officer talking about how they take privacy very seriously. Developers of hardware and software often require time and resources to repair their mistakes. Thus, eliminating the need for him to "create a market" Some people are so stupid they shouldn't be allowed to speak.
However, you can skip your entire summary because anybody with half a brain has already uninstalled skype's app thus negating your entire argument. I'm a stay-at-home mom that enjoys cooking, crafting and cheering on my favorite hockey, football, baseball and basketball teams!
Until a malicious hacker actually finds it and releases an app that steals your email, your contact list, and your chat logs? I personally would have left that information out of the article and just sent it to Skype. It's obviously that THEY DON'T and what the hell is he doing all day long that he can release an app that is this vulnerable. If it makes you feel any better, I find authors of smug comments such as yours to be "asshats" as well.

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