Researchers get around Android security by freezing the phone

To get around this, researchers Tilo Muller, Michael Spreitzenbarth and Felix Freiling from FAU put Android phones in a freezer for an hour until the device had cooled to below -10C.

The trio discovered that quickly connecting and disconnecting the battery of a frozen phone forced the handset into a vulnerable mode. This loophole let them start it up with some custom-built software rather than its onboard Android operating system. The researchers dubbed their custom code Frost – Forensic Recovery of Scrambled Telephones.

Not a good day for Android. Then again, not many days are good for Android.



  • http://twitter.com/philipberne Philip Berne

    Except for all those days where its the number one OS on all smartphones and beating the iPhone by a mile. Those are good days. Like today. And yesterday. And tomorrow. And . . .

    • http://twitter.com/Moeskido Moeskido

      Number one in use on feature-phones that used to run Symbian, yes.

    • Guest

      Very scientific of you.

    • http://twitter.com/jeffzugale Jeff Zugale

      Show us the profits, Philip.

      • Tvaddic

        I’ll show you that, and a rising stock price.

        • rattyuk

          Google’s rising stock price has nothing to do with Android profits or the lack of them.

          • Tvaddic

            How can you say Google make money on iOS, something they pay a lot for? But not make money on Android? Even if they didn’t make money no one else is making money on 90% of the devices (Android + iOS combined market share).

          • rattyuk

            The money they make is chicken feed on mobile.

        • http://twitter.com/jeffzugale Jeff Zugale

          Higher stock price? Apple has 3x the number of shares outstanding (~960 mil vs ~330 mil for GOOG) so their market cap is still more than double. Plus they’ve got what now, $140 billion in CASH?

          Google net profit 2012: $2.8 billion; Apple net profit 2012: $8.2 billion.

          So… what were you going to show us? Did I look on the wrong internet or something?

          • Tvaddic

            I said rising not higher, and Google made less in revenue than Apple you it isn’t a surprise they made less in profit. Also Google’s main business isn’t selling to consumers.

          • http://twitter.com/jeffzugale Jeff Zugale

            Rising, higher, whatever; GOOG is both rising and about twice the share price of AAPL. Great for them!

            So, where are these profits you were going to show us? Philip was talking about how there are more Android phones than iPhones – which nobody can or will deny – and I asked him to show us the profits, whereupon you chimed in and said you would, and also a rising stock price.

            Nobody’s making a profit off Android except Samsung. Is that what you meant?

          • Tvaddic

            Google’s earnings have been up all around, while mobile growth has been up. It could be just iOS, which is incredibly unlikely, or it could be both. People say Google makes money off of iOS, well they make money from Android too. And keep more of this money because they don’t have to pay Apple, I don’t know how anyone could say Google doesn’t make money from Android.

    • Techpm

      All that marketshare would be great if it brought better apps, more content and innovative accessories to the platform…

      But it hasn’t. It’s just been bringing better malware buried in cheapo apps and so much fragmentation that no company can make a decent product for it.

    • DanPierce

      And what has that market share gotten for Android? Better phones? Arguable. Better apps? Developers develop for iOS first then maybe Android. Better customer service? Nope. Lots of money for Google? Not really. A feeling of smugness for Android evangelists? Oh yeah.

      • Tvaddic

        The numbers say that there are the same number of apps for bother iOS, and Android. Google doesn’t do customer service because they don’t sell you the phone, the carriers and manufator do. How is Google “not really” making a lot of money from Android? They are the default search, and they don’t have to pay a hefty cut to Apple. They had a double digit revenue increase this year.

        • rattyuk

          Yes, just add up numbers, I’m sure all the apps are the same on each platform. I love that iOS apps get delivered first, I thought the large market share was supposed to fix that?

          A large amount of Android success come from India and China, both of which have Android devices with the Google parts stripped out so that is going to help Google’s bottom line.

          Google also pay a lot of money to Apple to be the default search engine on iOS as well.

          • Tvaddic

            Google hasn’t had success in China, so being the backbone of the dominant OS is a small start, they Google could afford to lose money on. And the fact that Google pays money to Apple to be the dominant search proves that they make a lot of money in mobile. I don’t understand how people say Google doesn’t make money from Android, when they don’t pay for it, but are making money from iOS when they write Apple a huge check.

          • curbside_preacher

            I think what people mean to say is that Ad Words is really what makes money at Google and not Android. I can see where you are coming from but please consider what Google’s core product is. (hint Advertising)

          • rattyuk

            For “default” search. That’s easily changed, you know.

          • DanPierce

            1) so they are writing a huge check to Apple out of the goodness of their hearts? No, Google is making a lot of their mobile money on iOS. 2) Umm, I’m pretty sure that Google is paying for Android, in terms of their development costs.

    • http://twitter.com/CoreyTamas Joel In Real Life

      Pick a single Android phone that currently outsells the iPhone 5.

      Hell, I’ll make it easy: Pick one that outsells the iPhone 4S.

      Okay, if that’s too hard then show me where the majority of the market money is going (not the same as marketshare).

      Credible sources, pls. Go ahead. I’ll check back.

  • DanPierce

    “the device had cooled to below -10C.” I guess this is going to be a big problem for Canadian Android users.

  • Crabbit_Git

    What kind of batshit addled mind thinks “i know, lets put in the freezer and see if we can hack it that way”.

    I don’t know, but I want the number of their dealer.

    • rattyuk

      “What kind of batshit addled mind thinks “i know, lets put in the freezer and see if we can hack it that way”.”

      It’s a common security solution for getting data out of memory and SSDs. Probably works the same for iOS devices too. If someone has a device in their hands and enough time to freeze it then security is pretty much out the window anyway.

      • pawhite524

        How right you are!

  • http://twitter.com/CoreyTamas Joel In Real Life

    I’m not much of an Android fan, but they do seem to have plenty of good days.