Android ‘Master Key’ Security Flaw Discovered

Android 'Master Key' Security Flaw DiscoveredA “master key” that could give cyber-thieves unfettered access to almost any Android phone has been discovered by security research firm BlueBox. The bug could be exploited to let an attacker do what they want to a phone including stealing data, eavesdropping or using it to send junk messages.


The loophole has been present in every version of the Android operating system released since 2009. Google said it currently had no comment to make on BlueBox’s discovery. Writing on the BlueBox blog, Jeff Forristal, said the implications of the discovery were “huge”.

‘Malicious changes’

The bug emerges because of the way Android handles cryptographic verification of the programs installed on the phone. Android uses the cryptographic signature as a way to check that an app or program is legitimate and to ensure it has not been tampered with. Mr Forristal and his colleagues have found a method of tricking the way Android checks these signatures so malicious changes to apps go unnoticed.

Any app or program written to exploit the bug would enjoy the same access to a phone that the legitimate version of that application enjoyed. The danger from the loophole remains theoretical because, as yet, there is no evidence that it is being exploited by cyber-thieves.

Do you think the discovery of this “master key” to Android is significant? Can Google find a way to remedy this loophole?

Source: BBC News

Image: UK Mobile Review

NASA Physicists: Warp Drive May Be Feasible After All

A warp drive to achieve faster-than-light travel — a concept popularized in television’s Star Trek — may not be as unrealistic as once thought, scientists say.

A warp drive would manipulate space-time itself to move a starship, taking advantage of a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from moving faster than light. A concept for a real-life warp drive was suggested in 1994 by Mexican physicist Miguel Alcubierre, however subsequent calculations found that such a device would require prohibitive amounts of energy. Now physicists say that adjustments can be made to the proposed warp drive that would enable it to run on significantly less energy, potentially brining the idea back from the realm of science fiction into science.

An Alcubierre warp drive would involve a football-shaped spacecraft attached to a large ring encircling it. This ring, potentially made of exotic matter, would cause space-time to warp around the starship, creating a region of contracted space in front of it and expanded space behind. Meanwhile, the starship itself would stay inside a bubble of flat space-time that wasn’t being warped at all.

With this concept, the spacecraft would be able to achieve an effective speed of about 10 times the speed of light, all without breaking the cosmic speed limit. The only problem is, previous studies estimated the warp drive would require a minimum amount of energy about equal to the mass-energy of the planet Jupiter.

But recently Harold “Sonny” White of NASA’s Johnson Space Center calculated what would happen if the shape of the ring encircling the spacecraft was adjusted into more of a rounded donut, as opposed to a flat ring. He found in that case, the warp drive could be powered by a mass about the size of a spacecraft like the Voyager 1 probe NASA launched in 1977.

Do you think Warp Drive could come into reality in the very near future? Come and share your futuristic thoughts with us!

Source: Yahoo News

Image: Universe Today