Serious Security Bugs Found In Android Kernel

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An analysis of Google Android Froyo’s open source kernel has uncovered 88 flaws that could expose users’ data

An analysis of the kernel used in Google’s Android smartphone software has turned up 88 high-risk security flaws that could be used to expose users’ personal information, security firm Coverity said in a report published on Tuesday.

The results, published in the 2010 edition of the Coverity Scan Open Source Integrity Report, are based on an analysis of the Froyo kernel used in HTC’s Droid Incredible handset.

Enterprise fears

The results arrive as Android is increasing its market share and increasingly being used in the enterprise.

While Android implementations vary from device to device, Coverity said the same flaws were likely to exist in other handsets as well. Coverity uncovered a total of 359 bugs, about one-quarter of which were classified as high-risk.

The report analysed a total of 61 million lines of open source code from 291 widely used projects, including Apache, Linux, PHP and Samba.

While Android’s density of bugs per thousand lines of code was lower than the average found in open source software overall, it was higher than that of the Linux kernel, according to Coverity. The company said some of the bugs appeared to be important enough to have been addressed before the code was released.

Fixes demanded

Coverity said it will hold off releasing the details of the flaws until January to allow Google and handset vendors to issue fixes. The flaws could be patched via an over-the-air update, Coverity said.

Canalys reported on Monday that Android now dominates the US smartphone market with a 44 percent share, up from 33 percent in the second quarter of this year.

While the deployment of Android on large numbers of handsets has allowed the software to claw market share away from competitors such as RIM, some have criticised Google’s “hands-off” approach for harming the quality of Android and its applications.

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