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Science
08 Feb 2019

Watch out! A single photo can compromise your Android phone

Hackers can compromise Android phones with single image

The cases of vulnerabilities affecting smartphones just don't seem to end.

After Apple's infamous FaceTime bug, Google has flagged a major issue, one that allows hackers to compromise Android devices.

The worrying part? They can do it just by sending a single image to your smartphone and you won't even realize.

Here's more on the bug and the potential attack it could lead to.

In context

Hackers can compromise Android phones with single image
Image could be used to run malicious code

Issue

Image could be used to run malicious code

In a recent blog, Google acknowledged the vulnerability, noting that bad actors could use a single 'specially crafted' .PNG image to run malicious code on Android phones.

The photo, if opened, could give attackers 'privileged access' to run the malicious code.

And, the issue isn't on old phones; it affects devices running Android 7.0 Nougat, Android 8.0 Oreo, and Android 9.0 Pie.

Attack

But, what exploiting this bug could really do?

In the report, Google didn't exactly reveal how the bug or malicious photo in question could be used or what effect it might have on an Android phone.

However, the company did classify the issue as 'critical', stressing on the severity of the effect that exploiting the vulnerability would possibly have on an affected device.

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Fix on the way, but millions remain at risk

Fix

Fix on the way, but millions remain at risk

Google claims if the bug on your phone is exploited, you won't even know that you have been targeted.

However, the company emphasized that there are no actual reports of hackers pulling off the attack and its fix has already been issued with the February 2019 security patch.

This means the vulnerability should be patched pretty soon.

Tip

Until then, open PNGs with caution

Having said that, it is important to note that third-party Android vendors like Samsung release security patches at different rates.

This means some Android users might have to wait a little more than others before the fix shows up on their device.

Either way, we recommend opening any PNG file with caution until the February patch hits your device.

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Most asked questions

Is this issue affecting all Android 7.0 phones?

When Samsung will release this update?

When Android One phones will get this patch?

How to check for security patches on Samsung phones?

More questions

Is this issue affecting all Android 7.0 phones?

Asked on 08-02-2019 by Vishal Verma

Answered by NewsBytes

Yes, it seems that way. All Android phones running Android Nougat, Oreo, and Pie are vulnerable to the PNG attack.

When Samsung will release this update?

Asked on 08-02-2019 by Shreyas Trivedi

Answered by NewsBytes

Samsung will probably release the February patch before the end of this month.

When Android One phones will get this patch?

Asked on 08-02-2019 by Aaradhya Pillai

Answered by NewsBytes

Android One phones are likely to get this patch within a few days.

How to check for security patches on Samsung phones?

Asked on 08-02-2019 by Trishla Rao

Answered by NewsBytes

Go into Settings and scroll down to find the 'software update' option. From there, tap on the 'download updates manually' option to get the latest security update.

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