“Stagefright” is the world on everyone’s lips right now. And it’s understandable why. After a private security company based out of Tel Aviv named Zimperium released data on a “Unicorn” of a security exploit, the rumors were flying. It’s said the exploit can affect up to 1 billion devices.
Stagefright is an exploit found in the Android operating system. Theoretically, someone can send an MMS to a phone, and even if it’s not opened can exploit the system that helps Android process video files. This occurs because some Android messaging apps download video files as soon as they arrive on the phone so they’re ready for viewing as soon as they’re opened.
“libStageFright”, which is the vulnerable mechanism dates all the back to Android 2.2 Froyo so it’s on almost every Android phone, tablet and other device still in use. Froyo is so old that Google doesn’t even track how many people are on a version earlier than it. But now the security company that found the exploit is releasing a tool to see if your device is at risk.
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Google and OEMs like Samsung are working fast to get the hole patched. Google has recently released patches to Nexus devices like the Nexus 5 and Nexus 6, and patches have already been pushed by Samsung on Sprint and AT&T for their flagship phones. It seems that Stagefright won’t be an issue for too much longer, but those on older and mid-tier devices who rarely get updates may continue to be at risk. If you’d like to protect yourself now instead of waiting on your phone’s manufacturer to push an update, try downloading either Chomp or Textra. The company that owns both messaging apps pushed an update that should stop the exploit.
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