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Replicant Finds Backdoor in Samsung Galaxy Devices

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GLOBAL – Developers at Replicant have discovered a backdoor in Samsung Galaxy devices, and thus deriving a method to fetch out user data, microphone activation as well as determining the GPS location.

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Certain phones come with multiple processors, one dedicated to the operating system, while the other dedicated to a modem that communicates with the mobile telephony network. Replicant alleges that the modem-focused processor can have a backdoor that converts the modem into a spying device that involves activating the microphone, access to the camera of the device, determining the GPS location of the device and also access to the stored user data on the phone.

Developers working on Replicant, a free (libre) version of Android, discovered that the proprietary communications program on the OS processor finds a route through the backdoor allowing the modem to perform I/O operations remotely on the file system. Such a program comes with the Samsung Galaxy devices thereby making it possible for the modem to write, delete and read on phone’s storage.

The backdoor can provide remote access to phone’s data even in case of the modem being isolated and is not able to access the storage directly. Replicant’s version of Android prevents this unacceptable behavior of proprietary software and blocks any kind of backdoor access.

Replicant says that it fights against the backdoors, unless the modem takes command over the main processor and rewrites the software in it, in which case Replicant becomes helpless.

Samsung has responded to this claim, saying that it is a “non-issue”, which Replicant does not agree with.

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By , International Correspondent - Prague office on Mar 19th, 2014 GMT +2

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