BlackBerry released a security update for its BlackBerry 10 OS to address a critical vulnerability that could allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected devices.
The vulnerability, identified as CVE-2014-1468, is the result of a buffer overflow in the BlackBerry 10 qconnDoor network service that handles remote debugging connections and provides shell access for developers.
The qconnDoor service can be accessed remotely via Wi-Fi when the developer mode setting is enabled on the phone or from a computer via a direct USB connection to the device regardless of whether or not developer mode is active.
"Successful exploitation of this vulnerability could potentially result in an attacker terminating the qconnDoor service running on a user's BlackBerry smartphone," BlackBerry said in a security advisory. "In addition, the attacker could potentially execute code on the user's BlackBerry smartphone with the privileges of the root user (superuser)."
Attackers can exploit the vulnerability by sending specially crafted messages to a vulnerable device, but the fact that qconnDoor can only be accessed via Wi-Fi when the developer mode is on limits the exposure to remote attacks. The developer mode is disabled by default on BlackBerry 10 smartphones.
However, if an attacker gains physical access to the device or can compromise a computer to which the device is later connected, they can easily exploit this security flaw.
The vulnerability was reported privately to BlackBerry and the company is not aware of any exploits targeting it in the wild.
Users are advised to upgrade to BlackBerry 10 OS version 10.2.0.1055 in order to fully address the vulnerability, but turning off developer mode or disabling the Wi-Fi interface while using the feature can serve as temporary workarounds.
"Customers who use development mode with the Wi-Fi network interface enabled should connect only to trusted wireless networks," BlackBerry said.