Bad news Android phone owners. Your phone is incredibly easy to hack.
The flaw in the device affects 95% of Android phones (roughly 950 million people!) and makes it way too easy for a hacker to completely take over your device.
The problem stems from the way Android phones analyze incoming text messages. Even before you open a message, the phone automatically processes incoming media files — including pictures, audio or video. That means a malware-laden file can start infecting the phone as soon as it’s received, according Zimperium, a cybersecurity company that specializes in mobile devices.
By sending the right message, a hacker could gain total control of your phone. They could completely wipe the device, access your apps or even secretly turn on your camera!
The bug affects all Android phones made in the last 5 years (I guess that is good news for you, old -school flip phone owners!). Zimperium alerted Google about the issue in April and decided to go public after 109 days went by and Google offered no fix for the problem.
Google told CNN they sent a fix to their “partners” – but Google is not to blame according to Collin Mulliner, a senior research scientist at Northeastern University. He told NPR, “In this case Google is not the actual one to blame. It’s ultimately the manufacturer of your phone, in combination possibly with your carrier.”
“If you can save money by not producing updates, you’re not going to do that,” he says. “Since the market is moving that fast, it sometimes doesn’t make sense for the manufacturer to provide an update.”