What can a single text do? More than you think.There are an estimated 47.5 million American Android users. Android far outweighs Apple as the dominant operating system, thanks to its affordability and long reach. So what’s the worst fear that every Android smart phone user has? That it can be hacked. Welcome to Stage Fright, a recent hack that affected Androids with just a single text.
According to a recent article on 6abc.com:
“Cyber security company Zimperium discovered a hack in Android phones where the device can be compromised just by receiving a simple text message. The hack, known as Stage Fright, stems from the way Android phones process incoming messages, where devices automatically process the media attached to a text message like photos or videos, according to CNN. That means a file corrupted with malware can infect and compromise your entire Android device before you even open a message. The smartphone hack is estimated to be the largest in history, affecting 950 million Android users, or about 95 percent of Android phones in use today.”
CNN also reported that Zimperium alerted Google of the hack on April 9. But the bug has yet to be fixed, and Google just recently issued a statement saying that the bug affected older Android devices but are now taking steps to protect the vulnerability. Stage Fright is potentially dangerous hack that can affect millions of Android users.
What are some of the ways to protect your phone from a hack? According to twilio.com, disabling the Auto Retrieve MMS function can help:
“Here’s how the attack would work: The bad guy creates a short video, hides the malware inside it and texts it to your number. As soon as it’s received by the phone, Drake says, “it does its initial processing, which triggers the vulnerability…”
Once the attackers get in, Drake says, they’d be able do anything — copy data, delete it, take over your microphone and camera to monitor your every word and move. “It’s really up to their imagination what they do once they get in,” he says. Disabling Auto Retrieve MMS will partially mitigate this vulnerability ahead of the official patch release. All MMS media files will require a click in order to be viewed, but disabling this feature will prevent an attack from automatically executing on your phone. Turning off this feature does not fix the exploit entirely. So long as the bug exists, your Android device remains vulnerable and can be hacked if a malformed media file is downloaded by clicking on it. This vulnerability will not be completely fixed until a patch is released for your device, but this intermediate step can help mitigate the threat in the meantime.”
Is it too little, too late? There’s no way to completely protect your phone from millions of hacks that are produced daily. Our cell phone are our lives, and one hack could affect our whole phone operating system. Taking steps now can prevent Stage Fright from affecting your Android.