1,859 Android and iOS apps contain hard-coded AWS credentials Security Affairs

1,859 Android and iOS apps contain hard-coded AWS credentials Security Affairs

Researchers discovered 1,859 Android and iOS apps that contain hardcoded Amazon Web Services (AWS) credentials.

Researchers from Broadcom Symantec’s Threat Hunter team discovered 1,859 Android and iOS apps containing hardcoded Amazon Web Services (AWS) credentials that allowed access to private cloud services.

The experts pointed out that most of the apps containing hardcoded Amazon Web Services were iOS apps (98%), this is a trend that the researchers have been following for years.

47% of these apps contained valid AWS tokens that provided full access to all private files, including backups, and Amazon S3 buckets in the cloud.

“Over three-quarters (77%) of apps contained valid AWS access tokens that provided access to private AWS cloud services.” reads the report published by Broadcom Symantec. “Nearly half (47%) of these apps contained valid AWS tokens that also provided full access to many, often millions, of private files via Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3)”

The experts discovered that the majority of apps (53%) used the same AWS access tokens found in other apps developed by the same team or company. This finding suggests a potential supply chain vulnerability, these AWS access tokens are often exposed through shared library, third party SDK or other shared components used by the development teams.

The development teams use hardcoded access keys for several reasons, such as downloading or uploading assets and resources required for the app (large media files, recordings or images), accessing configuration files for the app and/or registering the device and collecting device information and storing it in the cloud , and access cloud services that require authentication. In some cases the presence of the access keys has no specific reason, in other cases they are part of testing and never removed code.

The researchers also provided details of some case studies, such as a named B2B company offering an intranet and communication platform that also provided a mobile software development kit (SDK) to its customers. The problem is that the SDK included cloud infrastructure keys embedded that are used to access the translation service.

The result is that the files of the company used on the intranet of over 15,000 medium to large companies were exposed along with the customers’ corporate data, financial records and employees’ private data.

The experts also found several popular iOS banking apps using the same third-party AI Digital Identity SDK that embedded the same cloud credentials, putting the entire infrastructure at risk.

These credentials are typically used to download appropriate resources necessary for the app’s functionality, as well as access configuration files and authenticate to other cloud services.

“The credentials may reveal private authentication data and keys belonging to all banking and financial apps using the SDK. Furthermore, users’ biometric digital fingerprints used for authentication, along with users’ personal data (name, date of birth, etc.), were exposed in the cloud.” the report continues. “In addition, the access key revealed the infrastructure server and blueprints, including the API source code and AI models, used for the entire operation. In total, over 300,000 biometric digital fingerprints were leaked across five mobile banking apps that use the SDK.”

The experts also illustrated the case of an online gaming technology platform that relies on another company for its technology platform.

In total, experts discovered 16 different online gambling apps using the vulnerable library exposed full infrastructure and cloud services across all AWS cloud services. The issue could allow a third party to gain full read/write root account credentials.

The company notified all the organizations behind the vulnerable apps about the problems.

Follow me on Twitter: @securityaffairs and Facebook

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security matters hacking, Log4Shell)




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