Google awarded Chinese hacker record $112,500 for Android exploit chain

Pierluigi Paganini January 22, 2018

Google has awarded a record $112,500 to a security researcher for reporting an exploit chain that could be used to hack Pixel smartphones.

Last week the Google disclosed the technical details of the exploit chain that was devised in August 2017 by the Guang Gong from Alpha Team at Qihoo 360 Technology. The exploit chain triggers two vulnerabilities, CVE-2017-5116 and CVE-2017-14904, researchers submitted it through the Android Security Rewards (ASR) program.

“The exploit chain includes two bugs, CVE-2017-5116 and CVE-2017-14904. CVE-2017-5116 is a V8 engine bug that is used to get remote code execution in sandboxed Chrome render process. CVE-2017-14904 is a bug in Android’s libgralloc module that is used to escape from Chrome’s sandbox. Together, this exploit chain can be used to inject arbitrary code into system_server by accessing a malicious URL in Chrome.” reads the analysis published by Google.

Android exploit chain

Chaining the vulnerabilities the attackers can remotely inject arbitrary code into the system_server process when a malicious URL in Chrome is accessed.

In an attack scenario, the victims can be tricked into clicking on such a URL by hackers that can fully compromise their mobile device.

Gong was awarded $105,000 for this exploit chain, he received also an additional award of $7500 through the Chrome Rewards program.

Google addressed the flaws as part of Google Android ‘s December security bulletin that addressed a total of 42 bugs.

Pixel mobile devices and partner devices using A/B updates will automatically install the security updates that fixed the flaws.

“The Android security team responded quickly to our report and included the fix for these two bugs in the December 2017 Security Update. Supported Google device and devices with the security patch level of 2017-12-05 or later address these issues.” concluded Google.

The overall ASR payout rewards is over $1.5 million to date, with the top research team earning $300,000 for 118 vulnerability reports.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Android exploit chain, hacking)

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