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Vulnerabilities in Xiaomi Phones could have led Hackers to Forge Payments

August 2022 by Check Point Research (CPR)

Check Point Research (CPR) identified vulnerabilities in Xiaomi’s mobile payment mechanism. Left unpatched, an attacker could steal private keys used to sign Wechat Pay control and payment packages. Worst case, an unprivileged Android app could have created and signed a fake payment package.

• Vulnerabilities were found in Xiaomi’s Trusted Environment
• Over 1 billion users could have been affected
• Xiaomi acknowledged and fixed the security flaws

Check Point Research (CPR) identified vulnerabilities in Xiaomi’s mobile payment mechanism. Left unpatched, an attacker could steal private keys used to sign Wechat Pay control and payment packages. In the worst case, an unprivileged Android app could have created and signed a fake payment package.

Specifically, the vulnerabilities were found in Xiaomi’s Trusted Environment, which is responsible for storing and managing sensitive information such as keys and passwords. The devices studied by CPR were powered by MediaTek chips.

Two Attack Paths

CPR discovered two ways to attack the trusted code:
1. From an unprivileged Android app: The user installs a malicious application and launches it. The app extracts the keys and sends a fake payment packet to steal the money.
2. If the attacker has the target devices in their hands: The attacker rootes the device, then downgrades the trust environment, and then runs the code to create a fake payment package without an application.

Responsible Disclosure

CPR responsibly disclosed its findings to Xiaomi. Xiaomi acknowledged and issued fixes.

Quote: Slava Makkaveev, Security Researcher at Check Point: “We discovered a set of vulnerabilities that could allow forging of payment packages or disabling the payment system directly, from an unprivileged Android application. We were able to hack into WeChat Pay and implemented a fully worked proof of concept. Our study marks the first time Xiaomi’s trusted applications are being reviewed for security issues.

We immediately disclosed our findings to Xiaomi, who worked swiftly to issue a fix. Our message to the public is to constantly make sure your phones are updated to the latest version provided by the manufacturer. If even mobile payments are not secure, then what is?”




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