Xiaomi Can Silently Install Any App On your Device

A Computer Science student and security enthusiast from Netherlands who own a Xiaomi Mi4 smartphone started an investigation to know the purpose of a mysterious pre-installed app, dubbed AnalyticsCore.apk, that runs 24x7 in the background and reappeared even if you delete it.

Xiaomi is one of the world's largest smartphone manufacturers, which has previously been criticized for spreading malware, shipping handsets with pre-loaded spyware/adware and forked version of Android OS, and secretly stealing users' data from the device without their permission.

After asking about the purpose of AnalyticsCore app on company’s support forum and getting no response, Thijs Broenink reverse engineered the code and found that the app checks for a new update from the company's official server every 24 hours.

While making these requests, the app sends device identification information with it, including phone's IMEI, Model, MAC address, Nonce, Package name as well as signature.

If there is an updated app available on the server with the filename "Analytics.apk," it will automatically get downloaded and installed in the background without user interaction.

Broenink found that there is no validation at all to check which APK is getting installed to user's phone, which means there is a way for hackers to exploit this loophole.

This also means Xiaomi can remotely and silently install any application on your device just by renaming it to "Analytics.apk" and hosting it on the server.

Since the researcher didn't find the actual purpose of the AnalyticsCore app, neither on Googling nor on the company's website, it is hard to say why Xiaomi has kept this mysterious "backdoor" on its millions of devices.

Even on the Xiaomi discussion forum, multiple users have shown their concerns about the existence of this mysterious APK and its purpose.

What if hackers or any intelligence agency figure out how to exploit this backdoor to silently push malware onto millions of Xiaomi devices within just 24 hours?

Ironically, the device connects and receive updates over HTTP connection, exposing the whole process to Man-in-the-Middle attacks.

source: thijsbroenink.com

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About Jaime Lacson

A Freelance Computer Tech with knowledge about computer, router and mobile phones, especially in Upgrade and Downgrade OS, Software and Hardware troubleshooting. follow me at Google+
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