Two New Stagefright Bugs May Put Every Android Device At Risk
A couple of new bugs have been detected in Android, Google’s mobile operating system and the most widely used OS in the planet right now. The discovery was made by the same security company, Zimperium zLabs, that detected an entire series of nasty bugs in the early part of 2015. A few of the bugs discovered by the security researchers are now putting every mobile device out there that is powered by Android at risk.
What exactly do the two new bugs do? Well, for starters, they have the ability of turning Android run smartphones and tablets vulnerable to hackers. These bugs are now filed under a collective library of vulnerabilities known as Stagefright, the first of which were detected by Zimperium back in April earlier this year. But now it appears that the bugs were more numerous than initially thought.
Over a billion Android smartphones and tablets are put at risk by these new Stagefright bugs. Even a simple task as previewing video content or musical tracks (specifically created to provide a way in for hackers) can leave leave Android users completely vulnerable. The bad news is that the first of the new bugs has the ability to affect nearly all Android devices going back to the first ever version of the mobile operating system. As for the second bug, it can be used to attack all handsets that are powered by later versions of Android (i.e. Android 5.0 or newer). With the latest Android version -- Android 6.0 Marshmallow -- launching next week, many may be wondering if that version will be vulnerable, too.
Once hackers get inside a mobile user’s device, they can get access to sensitive and personal information, run potentially harmful programs on the unsuspecting smartphone or tablet, and even use that victimized handset to attack other devices. Android always rolls out regular security updates for its Nexus devices, including the latest ones (the Nexus 5X and the Nexus 6P), which come with Android Marshmallow. However, compared to Apple’s iOS (powering iPhones and iPads), Android is a bit more vulnerable.
This is mainly because Android mobile devices take a bit of time to get updated with their software. And it does not help that the phone makers themselves (Samsung, LG) are each responsible for getting the software updates. Still, this has not stopped Google from announcing that it is readying a fix for Nexus users that should roll out by October 5th this year.