learn to track

Microsoft Uncovers Dangerous Android Vulnerability: Dirty Stream

TLDR: Microsoft uncovers critical Android vulnerability “Dirty Stream,” allowing malicious apps to hijack legitimate ones. Over 4 billion installations were affected. Users are advised to limit apps, update regularly, and enable Google Play Protect.

Microsoft has sounded the alarm about a critical security flaw in Android dubbed “Dirty Stream,” which allows malicious apps to seize control of legitimate ones. The vulnerability exploits a loophole in the ContentProvider system, a prevalent feature across many popular Android apps that facilitates data sharing between applications.

How Dirty Stream Works

Dirty Stream manipulates the ContentProvider system by creating custom intents, messaging objects that enable communication between Android app components. By exploiting this loophole, malicious apps can send files with manipulated filenames or paths to other apps using custom intents, disguising harmful code as legitimate files.

Once a vulnerable app is tricked into overwriting critical files within its private storage space, hackers can execute unauthorized code, steal data, and even hijack the app without the user’s knowledge.

Widespread Impact

Microsoft’s investigation revealed that the Dirty Stream vulnerability is not an isolated issue. The company uncovered incorrect implementations of the content provider system across many popular Android apps, with several vulnerable applications representing over four billion installations in the Google Play Store.

Some of the affected apps include:

  • Xiaomi Inc.’s File Manager (1B+ installs)
  • WPS Office (500M+ installs)

Given the nature of this vulnerability, it’s difficult to determine the exact number of legitimate apps that may have been impacted, but the potential risk is on an industrial scale until all apps are patched.

Protecting Yourself from Android Malware

To stay safe from Android malware like Dirty Stream, consider the following steps:

  1. Limit the number of apps on your phone to reduce the likelihood of having a malicious app.
  2. Install new security updates and patches as soon as they become available to fix vulnerabilities and zero-day flaws.
  3. Enable Google Play Protect on your device to scan existing and new apps for malware.
  4. Consider using one of the best Android antivirus apps for extra protection and features like a VPN or password manager.
  5. Be vigilant when downloading and installing apps, even from the Google Play Store, and avoid anything that looks suspicious.

It’s likely that Google is already working on a fix for the Dirty Stream vulnerability, as Microsoft would have shared any uncovered information with the search giant before publishing its alert.

In the meantime, users should keep all apps up to date and reset credentials in affected apps like the Xiaomi File Manager to minimize the risk of falling victim to this dangerous Android flaw.


Add comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.