Google in collaboration with Arm is Launching new Technology to Deal with Memory Vulnerabilities in Android

Some security vulnerabilities were discovered in Android 9 Pie that was of serious concern for many. More than 50% of these high risks have been due to the memory safety bug, i.e. according to Google.

Android Q now has new features in it that will alleviate such problems. However, there is a limit to what software can do. To deal with related issues, Google joined hands with Arm, chip-maker Company to design hardware with the name “Memory Tagging Extension (MTE).”

Languages like C and C++ are used to develop Android Apps, where memory safety bugs are common in these programming languages and are hardly identifiable. With MTE, it is expected that it will make the detection of viruses easier, without many expenditures.

There are two execution modes of MTE:

First one is the precise mode that gives detailed information regarding the violation of the memory.

The other is an imprecise mode with lesser CPU overheads. It is most appropriate to be active all the time.
"Google is committed to supporting MTE throughout the Android software stack.", explained Kostya Serebryany, Google Core Systems, and Sudhi Herle, Android Security & Privacy Team in a blog post. Adding further, "We are working with select Arm System On Chip (SoC) partners to test MTE support and look forward to wider deployment of MTE in the Android software and hardware ecosystem." 
MTE will be able to perform like the already existing tools as ASAN and HWASAN but in a much faster and economical way. It will also be capable of detecting at much better measurable scale. It is expected to be dynamic and more flexible and can report with much accuracy at various levels of development.

Android will be able to support MTE and by the time it will turn into an executable product. In the future, it might also be made the requirement of some of the Android devices.

Photo: REUTERS / Dado Ruvic

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