Samsung Galaxy SII and SIII smartphones might be at a huge security risk when opening links with QR technology, NFC or push notifications, according to a new report.
ZDNet is reporting that Samsung devices with TouchWiz’s user interface for Android could find their smartphones to be completely wiped clean when exposed to a malicious code embedded on a webpage.
Security researcher Ravi Borgaonkar demonstrated at a security conference last week in Argentina the weaknesses built into Samsung’s Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), which allows message communication to go from the phone to the application server. Samsung’s TouchWiz communicates with USSD and appears to be affected, he said.
Borgaonkar demoed how a hacker could take advantage of the vulnerability and attack a user who accesses on a bad link. Hackers can then remotely wipe the handset and SIM card in just a few minutes, and re-set the device to factory mode. This happens because of malicious code embedded within a website.
It’s important to understand that simply visiting a website with this malicious code from your mobile device won’t trigger the potential attack. Instead, users must access the site from a QR code, SMS, NFC or WAP message.
Samsung has not yet responded to a request for comment. For a full look at Borgaonkar’s presentation, check out the video below.