In a study conducted by University of Michigan, 410 Android apps on the Google Play store found with open ports. Experts discovered that these apps with ‘open ports’ can be exploited in 956 different ways by hackers and attackers. Although, these apps are only the 0.015 percent of the total number of apps (2.7 million) available on the Play store but many of them are quite popular with downloads between 10 and 50 million. One of them even comes pre-installed on several devices.
Security experts know about the open ports of apps and also about their legitimate and illegitimate uses. With open ports an app is able to reach beyond the corporate firewall and leave several exploitable gaps in security. Hackers and attackers can access these ports to wreak havoc on a network.
The research team at University of Michigan created a program called OPAnalyzer, which they describe as a static analysis tool used to effectively identify and characterize vulnerable open port usages in Android applications.
The 5 Transmitters of Attack on Open Android App Ports
Although, we cannot mean anything with open ports if we do not know what they are used for or how they can be applied to exploit apps but here are the five reasons found by researchers because of them ports are kept open:
Data sharing – These open ports are used to read data on local devices and then transferring it to a remote host like Google Drive. Among all apps having open ports for data sharing, 60% do not need any sort of authentication.
Proxy: With these open ports remote input requests can be forwarded to other destinations which are used to generate targeted ads. Also, proxy ports can be used for DDoS attacks as well as stealing cache web data like passwords.
Remote Execution: These open ports can also help in remote execution which is used to trigger action on devices such as push notifications and logging into computers via a smartphone. Many remote execution ports are quite sensitive for such remote executions which are beyond the scope of the app.
VoIP: Some apps need open ports to answer VoIP calls to listen for SIP invitations. But these ports could also be used to spoof called ID, or to make phishing attempts.
Sofia is a digital marketing expert in Mobilmindz, a prominent mobile app development company which provides iOS and android app development services across the global. He loves to write on latest mobile trends, mobile technologies, startups and enterprises.”