Home Security Samsung forgets domain renewal, exposes millions to hackers

Samsung forgets domain renewal, exposes millions to hackers

Millions of users of older Samsung devices were left exposed to hackers because the company failed to renew a domain that was used to control an app, according to security researchers.

The company supplies an app called S Suggest as part of the default setup on older smartphones. This app suggests the use of other popular apps to users.

Samsung appears to have discontinued the S Suggest app recently, according to a report on Motherboard, and let one of the domains use to control the app, ssuggest.com, expire.

Anyone who registered the domain gained a means of pushing malicious apps to the millions of devices that have the app.

One researcher, João Gouveia of Anubis Labs, registered the domain on Monday in 24 hours witnessed about 620 million check-ins from 2.1 million smartphones.

S Suggest has permissions that allow for remotely rebooting a phone and installing apps or packages.

Another security researcher, Ben Actis, told Motherboard that if an attacker had found out about the domain and registered it, he or she could have pushed backdoored or malicious apps to millions of Samsung smartphones.

Samsung's stuff-up comes a couple of months after a researcher described its Tizen operating system — which the company has touted as an Android replacement — as having some of the worst code he had ever seen.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.