Security researcher Gal Beniamini (via)has discovered a flaw in how Android devices handle full disk encryption. This puts millions of Android devices running on Qualcomm chips at a risk.
Full disk encryption makes all data on a device unrecognizable without a unique key. Google started to implement Full disk encryption on Android starting with version 5.0. The main aim behind the security feature is to protect data on the device from unauthorized access. As per the researcher, the vulnerability resides on Android devices that run Android 5.0 Lollipop and above.
Beniamini found that an attacker can exploit kernel flaws and vulnerabilities in some of Qualcomm’s security measures to get that encryption key. The encrypted disk can then be decrypted by simply taking the user’s provided credentials, passing them through the key derivation function, and using the resulting key to decrypt the stored Device Encryption Key (DEK). Once the DEK is decrypted, it can be used to decrypt user’s information.
A Google spokesperson told Engadget that is has rolled out security patches for these issues earlier this year.