How Samsung exposed your old Galaxy phone to hacking

Your Samsung Galaxy phone could have been in great danger

If you own or owned an older Samsung device, you’re probably familiar with the S Suggest app. An ancestor of Bixby, the app – which came pre-installed on most Galaxy devices in the past – is a device-specific Android app recommendation tool.

But as Samsung is now focusing on Bixby, the older S Suggest got pushed aside – with some potentially dangerous consequences. S Suggest wasn’t even particularly popular with users, so Samsung decided to pull the plug on the service. This happened three years ago, but in doing so, the tech giant forgot to wipe out all traces of S Suggest’s existence.

2.1 million of unprotected Galaxy phones you say?

The problem is that Samsung let the ssuggest.com domain expire, leaving the channel of communication between the domain and the remaining millions of older Samsung devices intact.  This act of carelessness could have given hackers easy access to these phones, potentially allowing them to serve up malware to unsuspecting users. Ouch!

According to a report from Motherboard which cites Anubis Labs’ CTO João Gouveia, up to 2.1 million unique older Galaxy devices checked in the ssuggest.com domain merely 24 hours after Samsung’s ownership expired, so the potential for disaster was a great one. Luckily Guoveia took over the domain, thus preventing someone with less benevolent intentions from doing so.

If you too are using an older Samsung phone, you could simply disable S Suggest to make absolutely sure you are 100% safe. On your older Galaxy device go to Settings>Application Manager>Find the All section.

Inside the “All” tab you should see a list of stock apps, S Suggest among them. Tap on it and then the Disable button on the top right. In case you don’t see the Disable button, but the “Uninstall Updates” tap on that instead. Afterward, the Disable option should appear.