A newly discovered “app-in-the-middle” attack threatens the security of business data stored in Android for Work, which was designed to keep business and personal accounts separate.
The premise behind Android for Work, introduced in version 5.0 Lollipop, was to support the growth in bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policies. Users create two separate personas: a business persona with enterprise-level controls, and an open, unmanaged personal profile.
Enterprise apps, emails, and documents could be managed and secured through the business persona so admins wouldn’t be able to monitor their personal apps. IT departments could manage their environments for work activities without restricting personal apps.
The platform relied on Android’s user separation functionality, which allows different users to employ the same device. Work profiles are considered separate users, but they share icon badges and notifications with the personal profile.
It was a seemingly secure framework. Android for Work was created as an additional secure container so apps in the device’s personal profile should not have any access to the activity or content in the business persona.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. At this year’s RSAC, Skycure will demonstrate how a vulnerability in the separation logic of Android for Work can let malicious personal apps to view, steal, and manipulate apps and content that should be secured in the business profile.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht