Published on February 17th, 2021 📆 | 1539 Views ⚑0
ShareIt: A file-sharing disaster
A lot of people use ShareIt, and I mean a lot! Over 1.8 billion users, if the numbers provided by the company are correct. Android users make up more than 55 percent of the total active users base of ShareIt. That means it’s great for file sharing across devices, but sadly that’s not the case. A simple file sharing on ShareIt can expose your mobile phone content to the malicious lurkers on the internet. TrendMicro found out about these inherent flaws in the application that allows hackers to gain access to your data as well as remotely operate it.
According to TrendMicro, it found out several security flaws in the application can allow remote access and leak your sensitive data on the internet. I repeated this statement because people tend to avoid the news about application vulnerabilities and keep using it anyway. Even after an early warning three months ago, the changelog of ShareIt on Google Play Store mentions nothing about fully covering those loopholes found by TrendMicro. The height of ignorance by the company is unbelievable as the users currently remain exposed on the internet and during file transfers as well.
ShareIt asks for a lot of permissions, more than it needs. This is a personal observation that applications, especially the file-sharing ones need location access, storage read and write permissions, contact permissions, message permissions, and much more. They are added to the list of startup applications and come alive as soon as your phone boots up. The intention behind this is a malicious one, as applications do not need all of the smartphone permissions to merely share a file. I’m no tech savant but can see that applications like ShareIt are exploiting user’s data by offering a file-sharing feature.
In the early days of ShareIt, it didn’t require all of these permissions including the location and contact permissions. Plus it lacked any bloatware that you find in ShareIt. ShareIt began with a single file sharing module and then kept on adding useless features such as memory cleaners, storage space cleaner, a video library, gifs, and stickers. These features make the application slow to load and if your data connection is switched on the screen is riddled with advertisements. The first thing that ShareIt developers should do before fixing the vulnerabilities is to segregate the bloatware into a different application.
A bloatware vulnerability that allows ShareIt’s game store to download data irrespective of the HTTP format. That means it can even continue the downloads over unsecured HTTP that is prone to man-in-the-middle attacks. Files and data sent over HTTP are in plaintext and not encrypted in any form. The attackers obtain almost all information happening over HTTP and can direct you to phishing scams, identity theft, and much more malicious practices. After a recent update, the Chrome browser prevents any type of file downloads over HTTP, but ShareIt, with 1.8 billion users does not do so.
What can you do now?
Privacy is a myth on the internet and existing users have already been compromised in some way or another. After the discovery of a vulnerability the first thing that I would suggest uninstalling the application. ShareIt developers will notice the sudden-dip in the number of active users, which I’m not why do they even need, as it was designed for a file-sharing application. This might knock some sense into the developers and may compel them to patch the vulnerability. Another option is to migrate to more secure file sharing applications like Files by Google, Send Anywhere, Snapdrop, etc. These applications are not as compromised as ShareIt and are also not riddled with bloatware. The ShareIt website is currently inaccessible as of writing this article, with no chance of resurfacing until they fix this security debacle.