Samsung's Tizen scores high on vulnerabilities, says researcher

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Tizen is an operating system designed for a multitude of device types.

To be fair, Tizen is not found in the Galaxy 8 so the enthusiasm which the Tame Apple Press is reporting this story is probably a little desperate.

With Tizen, which is an open source operating system based on Linux, Samsung is trying to offer an alternative OS to a market dominated by Google's Android and Apple's iOS. However, it looks like Samsung not only has worry about the Central Intelligence Agency but also every other hacker out there as its home-grown Tizen OS is reportedly riddled with critical security flaws that could affect more than just its Smart TVs. Neiderman himself started looking at Tizen after buying a Samsung TV running the operating system, but he has found that the flaws also exist in the company's smartphones.

Any operating system in the world suffers from unknown zero-day vulnerabilities. He said Tizen's code may be "the worst he'd ever seen" and that the people who wrote it "don't have any understanding of security". He added that there is a widespread improper use of the strcpy () function in C, which is notorious for making devices vulnerable to risky functions that are well known to experienced C and C++ programmers. "It's like taking an undergraduate and letting him programme your software". Since the store has the highest level of clearance on a Tizen device, this is the "Holy Grail" for hackers as it will allow them to "update a Tizen system with any malicious code [they] want". However, that means most Samsung smart TVs and smartwatches are still prone to remote hacking.


"I haven't seen a lot of interest in Tizen from developers, and it hasn't been widely deployed - so you don't have the interest in it that you'd see in something like Android", Keeper Security's Tiquet said.

That's a damning accusation for Samsung's platform, which is used in millions of smartphones and the company's Gear smartwatches, in addition to some IoT appliances. One security hole in particular is reason for extreme concern, as it allows hackers to hijack the Samsung TizenStore app. According to Neiderman, much of Tizen's code base has been borrowed by Bada, an old Samsung mobile OS which was discontinued, but most of the vulnerabilities he located were from code that was specifically written for Tizen within the last two years.

Consumers should be concerned about the vulnerabilities Neiderman discovered in Tizen, maintained James Scott, a senior fellow with the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology. The worst vulnerability revolves around the Tizen Store because it has the most permissions on the device. However, Samsung did tell Motherboard that it's now working with Neidermanto "mitigate any potential vulnerabilities".

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