Research has revealed a vulnerability in Android devices that could seize control of your operating system and put your data at risk.
According to Bluebox Security, a weakness in Android’s operating system could allow hackers to turn apps into “zombies”. No, not the fun kind either, app zombies capable of remotely spying on your data without your knowledge. The virus could even control the functions on your device – such as calls and messages – through the access granted to certain applications. Ouch.
Bluebox’s Chief Technology Officer Jeff Foristal explained the implications of the vulnerability: “The malicious code would then gain access to everything—all applications, data, accounts, passwords and networks. It would basically control the whole device.”
He added: ““Ideally it would be great if everyone, everywhere, would release an update for a security problem, but the practical reality is that it doesn’t quite work that way.”
This vulnerability is nothing new, in fact Bluebox claims that it’s existed since Android version 1.6 – meaning devices may have been at risk for nearly four years.
Although more than 900 million active devices could potentially be affected, there’s no need to panic just yet. In reality this will impact just a fraction of that number, as the malicious apps still need to get on to your phone or tablet in the first place.
Our best advice is to stick to Google Play for every app that you want to download. Every app downloaded from the company’s official store is immune from modifications, and therefore not a threat to your device. That means be wary of third-party app sites even if they appear trustworthy, as well as any suspect e-mails asking you to make upgrades out of the blue.
Google has not yet made a statement on the matter, but you’ll find it here if and when they do.