OnePlus, an electronics manufacturer based in China, has reportedly been shipping its line of popular smartphones with a hidden backdoor that could allow a hacker to hijack the device relatively effortlessly. It's used by the operator in the factory to test the devices. It's been discovered that a testing app has been left on many OnePlus devices, creating a backdoor that bypasses the need to unlock the bootloader to get root-level access.
The app, called EngineerMode, is not normally seen unless you ask to see the device's system apps.
Alderson, with the help of cybersecurity experts, was able to root a OnePlus device with a few commands.
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The backdoor is provided through an application called Engineer Mode that ships pre-installed on the devices. The staff member reassured users by saying that third-party apps can't gain full root privileges from EngineerMode. It has been found on the OnePlus 5, as well as the OnePlus 3 and 3T.
Entering the password into the EngineerMode app provides permanent root access to the Android Debug Bridge process. Check the name of native library used to check the code: door...
While the vulnerability allows attackers to use the EngineerMode app to fully compromise devices, a mitigating factor is that local access to devices is needed - no remote exploit is available. OnePlus has been alerted to the exploit and CEO Carl Pei has confirmed that the company is looking into it. It should be a simple matter of just removing the APK in an update, but this will certainly put a damper on the launch of the OnePlus 5T, which comes out this week. The company already drew criticism earlier this year over its onerous data collection practices, in which the company sucked up sensitive data from user devices and transmitted that information with each device's serial number attached.