Galaxy S III And Other TouchWIZ Phones Can Be Easily Hard Reset Via The Web Browser

Own a Samsung made Android phone infested with TouchWIZ? A new exploit has been detected that will reset Samsung’s TouchWIZ factory data reset loop, simply by opening a link via the internal web browser, or by reading the code via any NFC tag or via any QR code. There is absolutely no way to reverse the factory data reset process once it is initiated, knowingly or unknowingly by the user.

The exploit works on a bunch of Galaxy series of phones from Samsung including the popular Galaxy S III including the AT&T variant but not the Verizon one, Galaxy S II, Galaxy S Advance and the Galaxy Ace. The exploit is based on a USSD code, which when dialed directly into the phone, will also lead to a factory reset.

Below is a video of the exploit in action -:

One Android developer and hacker, TeamAndIRC, has tweeted that Samsung has already patched the loop hole in the International I9300 and the AT&T variant of the handset in a recent software update.

Hopefully, the company will fix the loophole in other handsets within a short time as well.

Update: According to TeamAndIRC, the issue is with the stock Android browser and is not related to the Samsung browser.

Leaked Email Exchange Indicates Hacker Group Trying to Extort Money from Symantec

Anonymous has made a Pastebin dump of email exchanges between a Symantec representative called Sam Thomas and Yamatough, the spokesperson of the hacker group Lords of Dharmaraja.

The hacker group is accusing Symantec of ‘bribing’ them in order to prevent the release of the pcAnywhere source code. Looking at the email exchange however, it seems that the hacker group was in fact trying to extort money from Symantec.

The emails shows how Yamatough was trying to extort money through a service called ‘Liberty Reserve’ to an offshore account or to accounts in Lithuania or Libya. Sam instead suggests wiring $1000 through PayPal which Yamatough declines. Sam then increased the total payment to $50,000 with an initial transfer of $2500 for three months and the rest of the money after they provide enough proof that the source code has been destroyed. At this point, Yamatough becomes suspicious that the FBI is involved and the email exchange stops even though Sam tries to continue the conversation. You can read the entire conversation in the above link.

In a comment made at Infosec Island, Cris Paden of Symantec confirmed that the email exchange posted was legitimate.

In January an individual claiming to be part of the ‘Anonymous’ group attempted to extort a payment from Symantec in exchange for not publicly posting stolen Symantec source code they claimed to have in their possession. Symantec conducted an internal investigation into this incident and also contacted law enforcement given the attempted extortion and apparent theft of intellectual property. The communications with the person(s) attempting to extort the payment from Symantec were part of the law enforcement investigation. Given that the investigation is still on going, we are not going to disclose the law enforcement agencies involved and have no additional information to provide.

Paden also confirmed to Forbes that Sam was in fact an agent trying to get more information out of Yamatough.

“Anonymous has been talking to law enforcement, not to us. No money was exchanged, and there was never going to be any money exchanged. It was all an effort to gather information for the investigation,” he said.

Anonymous has uploaded the leaked source code to the torrents. But Symantec has reiterated that, you are safe, as long as you are using the latest version.

You can find additional information about the source leak here.

Amnesty International website Hacked to Serve Java Exploit

Amnesty_InternationalAmnesty International’s UK website was hacked recently, to incorporate an iframe that served a Trojan.

The iframe loads a CVE-2011-3544 based java exploit code, fetched from a Brazilian automobile site which itself was hacked. Security Analyst, Brian Krebs reports that the retrieved executable file is a trjoan classified as Trojan Spy-XR. This Trojan, which relies on a patched Java vulnerability, tracks and steals the affected user’s keystrokes.

According to Paul Royal of Barracuda Labs, the website was compromised on or before December 16th. So, if you have visited the website anytime between and have out-dated Java software, there’s a good chance that your computer is infected. In that case, run a complete system scan using your updated anti-virus. It is also a good idea to change the passwords of your online accounts.

This exploit will not affect you if you had already installed the latest Java updates or if you don’t have Java installed.

This is not the first time that Amnesty’s website was compromised. Last year, their Hong Kong website was hacked to spread malware of similar kind. The UK website itself has been compromised previously to exploit a Flash Player zero-day vulnerability.

Speculating about motive for the attacks, Paul went on to say in his blog post that,

The working theory for this anomaly relates to Amnesty International as a human rights non-governmental organization. To explain, certain countries use zero day exploits and other techniques to gain electronic information about the activities of human rights activists. Of course, a subset of these activists are too smart to click on links in even well-worded spearphishing emails. But what if you compromised a website frequented by these activists (e.g., Amnesty International)? Then your targets come to you. The context-specific damage potential is significant.

PS Vita Gets Hacked, Runs Hello World Code

Of course gets hackedis a broad term and generally this means that the handheld can play homebrew games, but considering that the device was released just a couple of days ago, I think this is a brilliant development. Yes, Sony’s new handheld gaming console, the PlayStation Vita has made to run custom code within two days of its release. The handheld features a 5 inch OLED touchscreen display, along with a touchpad behind at the back of the device, to analog stick and a motion sensor along with more-than-capable innards making this a brilliant little gadget. However this hack was performed using the PSP emulation feature of the Vita, with a homebrew jailbreak called the Half-Byte Loader (HBL) being used to run the custom code. helloworldvita Japanese PSP hacker mamosuke put up this post on his blog. The post explains how he used the HBL for firmware 6.31 to run the hello worldscript on his brand new PS Vita. His blog, though, is mostly in Japanese and Google’s translate feature leaves one wanting for something far better. Taken up from his site:-

PSN version save game exploit with other titles, so there are some that may be realized in the start of the PSP Homebrew PS Vita Once you have established how to start the HBL, the saved data is Sony ” Administrative Assistant for PlayStation content “must be transferred to the PS Vita, and further to transfer the state must now transfer the save data folder into the Hello World binaries that only the saved data . Will be transferred into the data folder in the save if the body can then be started with Vita HBL.

This new development also has the ominous effect of Sony noticing and crushing this exploit pathway sooner or later. For a company that has been dealing with leaks for so long, I guess it becomes second nature. So, will you be buying the new Sony PS Vita? Tell us in the comments!

BSNL Website Hacked by Pakistani Hacker

BSNL just can’t get enough of the negative lime-light. It has not even been two months since we reported BSNL getting compromised, and here we are again. A self-proclaimed Pakistani hacker has defaced a public BSNL page. Last time, we revealed a serious security flaw in an internal application at BSNL called Dotsoft, and funnily enough, the vulnerability still exists.
Apparently, Dotsoft became a hot topic with ethical hackers earlier in 2009, here is a clear proof-of-concept hack attempt aimed at Dotsoft. Though, this time, the situation is even worse. Today, a sub-directory on the BSNL website was hacked by a Pakistani hacker. The hacker, who calls himself ‘KhantastiC haX0r’, placed an index.html file on the sub-directory to prove that he has write-access to the web server.   He has also stated he has copied and removed all logs of the intrusion, as well as copied the databases — possibly being held for ransom? The defaced site is available at and doesn’t seem to affect any other pages within the same sub-directory, like


It is worth mentioning that although ‘Khantastic haXor’ claims to have connections with the PCA, he was actually thrown out of the PCA according to online reports. The situation was so bad that his personal details were exposed by a rival online ‘crew’. They went so far as to include personal photographs of the person in question. In any fashion, KhantastiC haX0r doesn’t seem to take his online anonymity very serious, as his Google+ account features pictures in high detail.

BSNL seriously needs to strengthen itself against attacks like these, with over 90 million subscribers, it’s a wonder they’ve managed to stave off theft of credit cards, passwords and other internal databases. It would seem like this is an online turf-war and BSNL was simply caught in the middle, perhaps their state ties can help them with building a more robust and secure network.

This makes for a good Diwali gift for BSNL from Pakistan.

Electronic Arts/BioWare Hacked, Customer Information Stolen

In a continuing pattern of attacks on high profile targets, Electronic Arts has suffered a breach of security. The attack, which occurred on June 14, effected the message board system for one of the companies older titles.

According to EA, the server hosting the message board for Neverwinter Nights, a 10-year old game by BioWare, suffered a “highly sophisticates and unlawful” attack. In a post dates June 23, EA reports that, while no sensitive personal information like credit card or social security numbers were taken, a large amount of user’s personal data is at risk. This data included user names, encrypted passwords, e-mail addresses, mailing addresses, and phone numbers.

BioWare Ea Hack Homepage

While the full extent of the hack is unknown, EA is assuring its users that they have re-secured the server and are working hard to inform anyone they believe to be affected by the attack. The company wrote in its forum post that it is e-mailing “all potentially affected users.”

If you are an active user of the Neverwinter Nights forum and do not receive an email from EA, then you may be one of the lucky ones who were unaffected. That doesn’t mean you can relax, however. It is important to remember that security measures are important.

With the recent surge in attacks on popular websites, we should all remember to practice good security practices. That includs being wary of who we give sensitive information to, as well as changing our passwords frequently.

As of this writing, no group has stepped up to claim responsibility for the hack. EA is continuing to investigate in hopes of discovering the full extent as well as the identity of the individual or group responsible.

LulzSec Breaks Into Sony Developer Network, Leaks Their Source Code

Continuing  their recent streak of break-ins into Sony web properties, the self proclaimed “world’s leaders in high-quality entertainment at your expense” Lulzsec just released a full 54MB archive consisting of Sony Computer Entertainment’s Developer network source code. Lulzsec tweeted their latest accomplishment just under half hour ago.

Sony has been under an ever-increasing spate of attacks and break-ins – the most recent being Sony Brazil, Sony Europe and  Sony Pictures Russia which was one of the most biggest hacks with over a million user names and passwords stolen. With this latest break-in ,16 of Sony’s web properties have been hacked into just under 45 days, giving an average hack rate of an astonishing 2.8 websites hacked per day.

While Lulzsec claims that the archive comprises of the Developer  network source code, a commentator on Hacker News mentions that the archive consists of Website source code rather than the actual PSN code.