Validating the Android 4.2.2 RSA fingerprint

Sunday, May 26, 2013 3:45:17 PM

Android 4.2.2 comes with a new security feature. If you try to connect to your smartphone via adb and USB debugging, you will note that your device is marked as “offline”. Additionally, a dialog shows up on your device, presenting an RSA fingerprint of your computer and asking for confirmation to accept a connection.

The rationale is that if your device is lost or stolen, there is no way to read its content even if USB debugging was enabled.

Now, presenting an RSA fingerprint surely is a nice idea to avoid man-in-the-middle attacks. But how do you get that fingerprint in order to compare it with the one shown on the device? At first I thought there must be a command (or an adb option) that prints out the fingerprint, but I wasn’t able to locate one. After spending some time with my favourite search engine, I finally dug up a rather more than less complicated command line that prints out the footprint:

awk '{print $1}' < | openssl base64 -A -d -a | openssl md5 -c | \
awk '{print $2}' | tr '[:lower:]' '[:upper:]'

The command must be executed in the directory where adb stores the adb key, which usually is ~/.android (or /root/.android if adb runs as root).

If you are somewhat security paranoid, you surely wonder why, on the one hand, Google shows a footprint on the device, but on the other hand makes it difficult to find out if that footprint actually belongs to your computer.

Written by Shred in Android

Tags: adb