‘Stagefright’ exploit allows hackers to take over Android phones

Relatively new, the ‘Stagefright’ exploit allows a hacker to take over a vulnerable Android phone just by sending you an MMS message with a video embedded – if you play the video – the hacker can access your phone.

Back in July, a security company called Zimperium allegedly found the exploit.

The first question is – am I vulnerable? According to AndroidCentral.com, there’s a bit of a discrepancy between who is and who isn’t at risk.

Android’s lead engineer told NPR that Google is working to fix the exploit after the knowledge of its existence became widespread near the end of July.

Google told NPR that “90 percent of Android devices have a technology called ASLR enabled, which protects them from the issue.”

However, AndroidCentral reports that the ASLR fix isn’t perfect for defending against the hack, and so the number of people who are potentially vulnerable is hard to pin down.

Since the initial outcry regarding Stagefright, Google has since released a patch for Nexus Android phones – so don’t worry if you have one of those. However – if you have literally any other Android phone – you could be vulnerable.

If you’re curious, though, there are apps out there that’ll tell you if your phone is vulnerable.

Engadget reports that a new tool, the Stagefright Detector App, will at least let you know one way or the other if you should be wary of videos in texts from strange numbers.

The best advice regarding Stagefright?

If you receive a video text from a number that you don’t recognize, then don’t open it.

This ‘security mess,’ as tech blog site BGR calls it, hasn’t yet been completely fixed. Stagefright could affect 95 percent of Android users, according to BGR.

Until Google has fully fixed this issue, better to err on the safe side with texts from numbers you don’t recognize.

Source: http://www.wtsp.com/story/tech/2015/08/10/stagefright-exploit-allows-hackers-to-take-over-android-phones/31399307/

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