Twitter Fixes High-Severity Flaw Affecting Android Users

twitter hack

A vulnerability in Twitter for Android could have allowed attackers to access private direct messages (DMs) and other data.

Twitter has fixed a vulnerability in its Android app, which could have enabled attackers to access private Twitter data, like direct messages (DMs) on Android devices.

The flaw is related to an underlying Android operating system (OS) security issue (CVE-2018-9492), which affects operating system versions 8 and 9, said Twitter. This high-severity flaw, which was first disclosed by Google in 2018, stems from the checkGrantUriPermissionLocked component of the feature in Android. The vulnerability could enable the attacker to bypass permissions – leading to local escalation of privilege.

From there, “this vulnerability could allow an attacker, through a malicious app installed on your device, to access private Twitter data on your device (like Direct Messages) by working around Android system permissions that protect against this,” said Twitter in a Wednesday post.

Twitter said that 96 percent of Android users with the Twitter app already have an Android security patch installed, which protects them from this vulnerability – but the remaining 4 percent of Twitter for Android users were still affected.

Twitter said it does not have evidence that the flaw was exploited by attackers.

The news comes days after Twitter acknowledged it may be facing a Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fine of up to $250 million. The penalty was due to Twitter admitting in October that user phone numbers and email addresses gathered for security purposes, as part of its two-factor authentication (2FA) policy, may have been used for targeted advertising.

It also comes weeks after a recent high-profile Twitter hack that compromised 130 accounts of high-profile users such as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Apple and Uber – to promote a bogus advance-fee cryptocurrency deal.  As part of this attack, the bad actors were able to access direct messages (DMs) for 36 of the 130 high-profile users whose accounts were hacked.

Twitter for its part said moving forward, it has updated Twitter for Android to make sure that external apps can’t access Twitter in-app data by adding extra safety precautions beyond standard OS protections; requiring anyone impacted to update Twitter for Android and sending in-app notices to everyone who could have been vulnerable.

“Your privacy and trust is important to us and we will continue working to keep your data secure on Twitter,” said Twitter.

Threatpost has reached out to Twitter for further information.

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