Google Glass security flaw flagged by researcher

Project Glass

Security researchers have uncovered a Google Glass vulnerability that could allow hackers to remotely control the device.

Hackers could gain access to a user's data simply by taking advantage of a feature in Google Glass that scans pictures the devices takes for QR codes.

Researchers from security firm Lookout created a QR code to demonstrate the flaw.

"We analysed how to make QR codes based on configuration instructions and produced our own 'malicious' QR codes," said Lookout Mobile Security principal security researcher Marc Rogers in a blog post.

"When photographed by an unsuspecting Glass user, the code forced Glass to connect silently to a 'hostile' WiFi access point that we controlled. That access point in turn allowed us to spy on the connections Glass made, from web requests to images uploaded to the cloud."

He said the flaw could also make Google Glass divert to a webpage on the Wi-Fi hotspot that contained a known Android 4.0.4 web vulnerability that hacked the device as it browsed the page.

Rogers said his firm disclosed the vulnerability to Google in May and the search giant fixed the vulnerability in version XE6 of the device's firmware in June. Glass will now only scan QR codes when a user asks it to.

The responsive turnaround by Google "indicates the depth of Google's commitment to privacy and security for this device and set a benchmark for how connected things should be secured going forward," he added.

In a statement by Google, the firm said that it wanted to put "Glass into the hands of all sorts of people, listen to their feedback, see the inspirational ways they use the technology, and discover vulnerabilities that we can research and work to address before we launch Glass more broadly."

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.