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Implement Intents Carefully

Details

Intents are used for inter-component signaling and can be used

  • To start an Activity, typically opening a user interface for an app
  • As broadcasts to inform the system and apps of changes
  • To start, stop, and communicate with a background service
  • To access data via ContentProviders
  • As callbacks to handle events

Improper implementation could result in data leakage, restricted functions being called and program flow being manipulated.

Remediation

  • Components accessed via Intents can be public or private. The default is dependent on the intent-filter and it is easy to mistakenly allow the component to be or become public. It is possible to set component as android:exported=false in the app’s Manifest to prevent this.

  • Public components declared in the Manifest are by default open so any application can access them. If a component does not need to be accessed by all other apps, consider setting a permission on the component declared in the Manifest.

  • Data received by public components cannot be trusted and must be scrutinized.

CWE/OWASP

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