Security Experts:

150 Million Downloaded Android Apps Vulnerable to Heartbleed: FireEye

Following the disclosure of the significant Heartbleed vulnerability that rocked the technology world, new research from FireEye shows yet another example that the impact of the security flaw goes far beyond traditional Web servers using SSL.

According to analysis by researchers at FireEye, roughly 150 million downloads of Android apps contain OpenSSL libraries vulnerable to Heartbleed.

“On April 10th, we scanned more than 54K Google Play apps (each with over 100K downloads) and found that there were at least 220 million downloads affected by the Heartbleed vulnerability,” FireEye researchers wrote in a blog post late Tuesday.

FireEye’s team analyzed apps with vulnerable OpenSSL libraries and found that most of the vulnerable apps are games, and some are office-based applications.

“Although there is not much valuable information in the game apps, attackers can steal OAuth tokens (access tokens and refresh tokens) to hijack the game accounts; as such, the information might be useful for hijacking those linked social network accounts with incorrect configurations,” FireEye warned. “Office apps vulnerable to Heartbleed are much more dangerous due to further potential data leakage.”

Fortunately, many developers and library vendors are updating their software to address the vulnerability and, FireEye witnessed the total number of vulnerable apps download drop to 150 million as of April 17th.

FireEye said it has notified some of the app developers and library vendors about the security issues in their products.

Earlier this week, Mocana, a firm focused on mobile device and embedded security, urged developers of smart connected devices to heed the wake-up call of Heartbleed and ensure their products are secure, private and safe.

According Bruce Schneier, a well-known cryptologist and CTO of Co3 Systems, “hundreds of millions of devices have been sitting on the Internet, unpatched and insecure, for the last five to ten years.”

The vulnerability is "catastrophic” for SSL and Internet security, Bruce Schneier, a well-known cryptologist and CTO of Co3 Systems, told SecurityWeek earlier this month. “On the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11.” While it's perfectly possible there are even more serious flaws in TLS lurking undiscovered, Heatbleed is quite possibly the worst one to date. Calling Heartbleed a “ginormous issue” would be a conservative assessment, Schneier said. 

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.