Samsung’s Tizen is riddled with security flaws, amateurishly written

Enlarge / Samsung's Smart TV interface, which seems to be running on Tizen. (credit: Samsung)

Tizen, the open source operating system that Samsung uses on a range of Internet-of-Things devices and positions as a sometime competitor to Android, is chock full of egregious security flaws, according to Israeli researcher Amihai Neiderman.

Samsung has been developing the operating system for many years. The project started as an Intel and Nokia project, and Samsung merged its Bada operating system into the code in 2013. Like Android, it's built on a Linux kernel, with a large chunk of open source software running on top. App development on Tizen uses C++ and HTML5.

Presenting at Kaspersky Lab's Security Analyst Summit and speaking to Motherboard, Neiderman had little positive to say about the state of Tizen's code. "It may be the worst code I've ever seen," Neiderman said. "Everything you can do wrong there, they do it."

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Samsung’s Tizen is riddled with security flaws, amateurishly written

Enlarge / Samsung's Smart TV interface, which seems to be running on Tizen. (credit: Samsung)

Tizen, the open source operating system that Samsung uses on a range of Internet-of-Things devices and positions as a sometime competitor to Android, is chock full of egregious security flaws, according to Israeli researcher Amihai Neiderman.

Samsung has been developing the operating system for many years. The project started as an Intel and Nokia project, and Samsung merged its Bada operating system into the code in 2013. Like Android, it's built on a Linux kernel, with a large chunk of open source software running on top. App development on Tizen uses C++ and HTML5.

Presenting at Kaspersky Lab's Security Analyst Summit and speaking to Motherboard, Neiderman had little positive to say about the state of Tizen's code. "It may be the worst code I've ever seen," Neiderman said. "Everything you can do wrong there, they do it."

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Samsung Smart Home flaws let hackers make keys to front door

Computer scientists have discovered vulnerabilities in Samsung's Smart Home automation system that allowed them to carry out a host of remote attacks, including digitally picking connected door locks from anywhere in the world.

The attack, one of several proof-of-concept exploits devised by researchers from the University of Michigan, worked against Samsung's SmartThings, one of the leading Internet of Things (IoT) platforms for connecting electronic locks, thermostats, ovens, and security systems in homes. The researchers said the attacks were made possible by two intrinsic design flaws in the SmartThings framework that aren't easily fixed. They went on to say that consumers should think twice before using the system to connect door locks and other security-critical components.

"All of the above attacks expose a household to significant harm—break-ins, theft, misinformation, and vandalism," the researchers wrote in a paper scheduled to be presented later this month at the 2016 IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy. "The attack vectors are not specific to a particular device and are broadly applicable."

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Severe weaknesses in Android handsets could leak user fingerprints

HTC and Samsung have patched serious vulnerabilities in some of their Android phones that made it possible for malicious hackers to steal user fingerprints. The researchers who discovered the flaws said that many more phones from all manufacturers may be susceptible to other types of fingerprint-theft attacks.

The most serious of the flaws was found on HTC's One Max handset. According to researchers at security firm FireEye, the device saved user fingerprints as an unencrypted file. Almost as bad, the BMP image was readable by any other running application or process. As a result, any unprivileged process or app could obtain a user's fingerprints by reading the file. Attackers could capitalize on the weakness by exploiting one of the many serious vulnerabilities that regularly crop up in Android or by tricking a target into installing a malicious app. HTC fixed the issue after FireEye privately reported it, according to this summary, which didn't provide a date or other details of the update.

A separate flaw found in both the HTC One Max and Samsung Galaxy S5 phones also put user fingerprints at risk by exposing the sensor to attackers. Consensus among security professionals is that the sensor should invoke the TrustZone protections provided by ARM chips the phones run. TrustZone allows sensitive operations to be isolated from the rest of the operating system in much the way that classified information belonging to governments isn't stored or transmitted over unclassified systems. FireEye researchers said most manufacturers fail to use the feature to protect the sensor operations.

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