Android Wi-Fi Direct Vulnerability Detected

android wi-fi direct

The IT department from Core Security recently discovered  a DoS (denial of service) vulnerability in the Android Wi-Fi Direct feature


The Wi-Fi Direct feature allows Android devices to inter-connect directly among them/peer to peer (let’s say a tablet and a smartphone) without requiring a “third party” device, like a wireless router.

Most of the modern Android running smartphones already have this feature implemented for quite a while now. Core Security’s IT department reports that a number of Android running smartphones are vulnerable and can be affected by a DoS attack when they’re scanning for Wi-Fi Direct capable devices.

The “hacker” can exploit this vulnerability by sending a custom made 802.11 Probe Response Frame (I’m quoting from Core Security) thus making the Dalvik subsystem to reboot due to an error (Unhandle Exception blabla).

Basically, this Wi-Fi Direct Vulnerability allows a third party to reboot your droid by remote, kicking your device off the wireless connection.

Wi-Fi Direct works similarly to a Bluetooth device, but with the advantage of being much more stable and having more range. There are all kinds of IT equipment that uses Wi-Fi Direct for connecting to a computer, such as printers or wireless mice. Also, if a piece of equipment is already Wi-Fi ready, that means that in the future you could control it with your smartphone too.

Google did not responded very well to the respective vulnerability, classifiying it as a “low security” issue and they don’t seem very keen to release a patch to fix the problem anytime soon.

Here’s the list of devices/Android versions affected by CVE-2014-0997 (the fancy name for the “exploit”):

  • Nexus 5 – Android 4.4.4
  • Nexus 4 – Android 4.4.4
  • LG D806 – Android 4.2.2
  • Samsung SM-T310 – Android 4.2.2
  • Motorola RAZR HD – Android 4.1.2
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