Nationwide Android App Vulnerability


Nationwide's servers don't check the integrity of their Android app when it connects to their servers. It is therefore easy to modify the app, adding trojan code that does malicious things. An attacker who can trick people into using the trojaned app can exploit them.

This vulnerability does not affect people who are using the genuine app from the Google Play Store. It would only harm people who are tricked into installing a modified app from a Web site, email, etc.

The Proof of Concept code below merely logs the user id and password, where other apps on the phone can see it, but there's nothing preventing a better programmer from sending that data, and all the other data the app has, out over the Net.

Nationwide should add integrity-checking to their server-side code. Obfuscating their smali code would also be an improvement, with a powerful obfuscator like DashO, not the worthless ProGuard.

Proof of Concept: Step by Step

Using the GenyMotion Android emulator, I installed the genuine App from the Google Play Store.

I pulled the APK file from the device with adb, and decoded the APK file with apktool, as shown below.

Finding Vulnerable Code

Since the strings were not effectively obfuscated, it was easy to find vulnerable code using grep.

I modified the x.smali file in two places as shown below.

I rebuilt the APK and signed it, as shown below.

Installing the Modified App

I dragged the APK file from the dist/ directory and dropped it on the emulator to install it.

I entered a test username and password into the login form.

The user id and password are in the logs, as shown below.


I notified Nationwide on Mar. 8, 2015, as shown below.

The Nationwide contact page had no email addresses, but it had a phone number.

I called at 12:00, and by 12:03 a friendly agent named had understood my request and politely put me on hold to find out who I should notify.

However, at 12:06 she returned without success. There is no entry in their directory that could cover this, and she wanted me to wait until Monday and call 1-800-882-2822.

From Google, I found some actual email contact forms!

Update 5-22-15

There's a new version:

But the same Trojan still works: