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Your OnePlus Device Is Prone To Hacking
14 November 2017, 11:34 | Brandon Parsons
OnePlus left a backdoor in its devices capable of root access
Users have discovered that numerous company's phones from the past few years (including the OnePlus 5) include a Qualcomm testing app, EngineerMode, that lets you get root-level access to the phone without having to unlock its bootloader. Later, Pei confirmed in a blog post that OnePlus it will scale back on data collection on its devices.
Still, the presence of the app brings into question OnePlus' security protocols. This is thanks to a Qualcomm system-side app and OnePlus's decision to leave it in the custody of end users. While that was deliberate, the company is again in the news for another problem with its devices, where a preloaded app can allow users to root their devices through a backdoor, without unlocking the bootloader.
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. They are able to gain root if they have a password to bypass privilege escalation checks.
OxygenOS 4.5.1 on the OnePlus 3 and version 4.5.14 on the OnePlus 5 come with the EngineerMode app installed. The user can access manual tests like root status test, Global Positioning System test or the main activity by sending a command.
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If it's there, anyone with physical access to your device can exploit EngineerMode to gain root access on your smartphone. While the risk is low since enabling root requires ADB, it still poses a threat to users.
In a statement to Android Authority, OnePlus said "We securely transmit analytics in two different streams over HTTPS to an Amazon server".
Now, on its own, this app can't do anything malicious; it's a powerful tool intended for device testing and maintenance.
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