Google’s Android is in the spotlight once more, yet for no praise. Zimperium mobile security company has unveiled Android’s weak spot: hacking smartphones with one message.
According to Zimperium, one multimedia message (MMS) is all it takes to see your phone hacked into. An ill-intended evil mind needs your phone number and to send you one MMS and the weakness is exposed.
That’s bad news for Google. According to the IDC market share reports, 78 percent of smart handsets are operated by Android. Apple is lagging behind, although security-wise, many may argue that Apple is faring much better.
How would this work? The MMS would reach an Android smartphone and take over almost all functions. As the MMS reaches the phone, the operating system is instantly affected, without the typical requirement that a user clicks on the text to open it.
One example would be a media file via Google Hangouts. Any phone will receive the file and automatically scan it to know where it should file it. That’s the greatest weakness. The same would apply for media files sent via other apps.
With the smartphone’s inbuilt text message, things get slightly trickier for the hacker. In order for a malicious text message to affect the Android smartphone, the user would need to click for opening. That buys users a little more time, but the infected attachments work their magic anyhow, according to Joshua Drake, security researcher at the mobile security company, Zimperium.
According to Zimperium reports, 95 percent of Android phone users are at risk of this type of hacking, particularly if their smartphones are equipped with an Android version 2.2. or following.
It is easy to guess what type of data a potential attack might withdraw from the Android smartphones. From contacts to personal texts to images and videos, all data can be retrieved with just one message to affect the phone’s operating system.
Zimperium has made the news public as Google seems to be stalling time on finding a patch for the issue, although it has recognized that Android OS is vulnerable to such hacks.
To Google’s defence, even when a patch for this vulnerability is fully developed, it is still up to phone manufacturers and carriers to roll it out and protect Android smartphone users.
Photo Credits appelmo.com
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