What is Man-in-the-Disk Attack?

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Over the years, many security weaknesses have been discovered in Google's Android mobile operating system. When it comes to covering technology, it might feel like there's a new fault in Android's design lurking around every corner, putting consumers and developers at the risk of inventive cyber attacks.

The Android operating system uses two types of storage − internal storage, which gives each app its sandbox; and external storage, accessed via a removable SD card. Man-in-the-Disk attacks use the characteristics of Android OS, notably, it allows developers to create programs that utilize external storage rather than internal storage. Let us check how the man-in-the-disk attack works.

Man-in-the-Disk Attack

Sandboxing is a feature of Android that blocks apps that use internal storage from talking with each other. However, due to Android's open nature, third-party developers can create apps that require external storage. There should be no problem if developers follow adequate security policies to secure data saved in external storage.

  • The concept of a "man-in-the-disk" attack is similar to that of a "man-in-the-middle" attack in that it entails intercepting and manipulating data being exchanged between external storage and an application.

  • Every Man-in-the-Disk attack begins with a hacker convincing a victim to install a malicious program on their Android device.

  • This software will ask for permission to access the device's external storage after it has been installed. If the user agrees, the hacker will have access to other programs' files stored in external storage.

  • Depending on what other programs keep in external storage, the attacker may manipulate an app's files and cause it to crash, modify another program's code to install malicious malware, or worse.

  • The attack can also be used to install a malicious app in the background without the user's awareness, which can then be used to escalate privileges and obtain access to other elements of the Android device, such as the camera, microphone, and contact list.

Some pre-installed and widely used apps disobey Android standards and store important information in unprotected External Storage. This can result in a Man-in-the-Disk attack, allowing unprotected sensitive data to be manipulated and misused.

How to Protect Yourself from Man-in-the-Disk attack?

You should keep the following points in mind to protect yourself from a man-in-the-disk attack −

  • Download apps only from trusted sources such as the Play Store.

  • Delete old or unused applications.

  • Change settings to disable third-party application downloads.

  • Use a trusted mobile antivirus app that will notify you when a harmful app is attempting to infiltrate your smartphone.

Updated on 28-Dec-2021 10:26:00