Google fixed two serious vulnerabilities with the release of Android 5.1 Lollipop.
The flaws, which affect all Android versions prior to 5.1, ended up uncovered and reported by Guang Gong, a security researcher at the Chinese internet security company Qihoo 360.
One of the vulnerabilities (CVE-2015-1474) is an integer overflow that leads to heap corruption. The high-severity flaw, which has a CVSS base score of 10, allows a remote attacker to gain elevated privileges or cause a denial-of-service (DoS) condition on the targeted system.
“Multiple integer overflows in the GraphicBuffer::unflatten function in platform/frameworks/native/libs/ui/GraphicBuffer.cpp in Android through 5.0 allow attackers to gain privileges or cause a denial of service (memory corruption) via vectors that trigger a large number of file descriptors or integer values,” Gong said in an advisory.
The second vulnerability (CVE-2015-1530) can also end up exploited for privilege escalation or DoS. The flaw is the result of an integer overflow in the Android media package.
“An Integer overflow in the BnAudioPolicyService::onTransact function in frameworks/av/media/libmedia/IAudioPolicyService.cpp in Android through 5.0 allows attackers to gain privileges or cause a denial of service (memory corruption) via vectors that trigger a large number of count value,” the advisory said.
Gong said malicious applications can exploit these vulnerabilities to surreptitiously carry out various tasks, including taking photos of the user and uploading them to a remote server, making phone calls, and sending messages.
Gong reported the vulnerabilities to Google in October and November 2014. In the case of CVE-2015-1474, the search giant had to release two patches because the first one was incomplete.
Google released Android 5.1 last Monday. The latest update introduces a new feature called Device Protection, which ensures lost or stolen devices remain locked until the owner signs in with their Google account.