Precautions can enhance security for Android phone users

30 Jul 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Android phones can be hacked with a text.

Android smartphones are vulnerable to hacking, but precautions can limit the danger. Once it takes hold, an attacker would gain the power to execute code remotely, compromising the phone’s microphone, cameras or any number of other core functions. “Use the Google messenger as your default text message app and there’s a setting as well where you can have it not automatically download multimedia messages so I would turn that off as well”, says McMahon. The malicious program that would attack Android is embedded in a short video, which will be sent to a person through a text message, as mentioned by a report from NPR. And unlike previous hoaxes or paranoid false alarms, this one is actually legit and should cause worry for those running Froyo up to Lollipop, which is basically 95% of devices now. Answer: A number of newly discovered vulnerabilities in a central Android software component called Stagefright — which is used to play, process or record multimedia files — could affect up to 95 percent of Android users.

The bug, called “Stagefright” from Android’s media library, is dubbed as the popular mobile operating system’s (OS) worst security flaw discovered ever, Fortune reported. According to the security researcher who discovered the problem, any Android device running versions 2.2 through 5.1.1_r4 could be exploited through MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service messages.

All you have to do is receive, not even open but simply receive, a certain text. “Google acted promptly and applied the patches to internal code branches within 48 hours, but unfortunately that’s only the beginning of what will be a very lengthy process of update deployment”, Zimperium said. If you open a malicious MMS message, you could provide complete access to your phone to hackers, allowing them to access anything on your phone or wipe everything out. So while we’re still waiting for that security fix that Google promised us, Lookout has suggested that we disable the MMS auto-fetch settings on our smartphones. With this in mind, waiting for the phone manufacturers and carriers to deliver the fix will leave you vulnerable, so here are a few things that can provide protection in the meantime: Turn off the auto-download or auto-retrieval feature on your messaging app. The danger comes when your phone tries to process a rigged MMS message, so preventing messages from getting onto your phone is the best way to protect yourself until a fix is installed.

Because any random hacker can target you simply by knowing your phone number, it’s extremely important that you pay attention to who is sending you messages.

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