Samsung is currently dominating the Android sphere with its Galaxy line of flagships, the Galaxy S III, the Galaxy Note II to name a few. But did you know that these top of the line droids have a major security flaw and are very vulnerable to malicious content and privacy hackers? This new bug has been disclosed by a member at the XDA forums, who details how the inadvertent loophole could be posing serious security threats for the users. The problem basically is seen on devices which make use of Samsung’s Exynos chipsets (4210 and 4412) which include the likes of the Galaxy S II, Galaxy S III, the Note II and the Meizu MX among others. You might not have heard a lot about the last one but it was in news for being one of the few smartphones based on the Exynos chipset other than Samsung smartphones of course. The issue was brought to light on XDA by user alephzain.
Without going into much detail and specifics about the issue, in simple terms, if the security flaw is exploited, any application will be able to get complete access to the kernel and the RAM of the smartphone. This might not sound all that alarming to most out there but if third parties get such access, then there’s a possibility of bricking the device and/or wiping the memory. Thankfully, the Android developer community has been quick to come up with a fix to resolve this issue. Although some of these quick fixes will end up give you root access, it is a bargain worth making. But as you know, manufacturers don’t love their devices being rooted and this could potentially void the warranty of your Galaxy smartphone.
Although if you own a Galaxy S II smartphone, the root shouldn’t worry you much as it’s very likely that you ran out of your warranty by now. Alternatively, renowned developer François Simond a.k.a supercurio has promised a fix which doesn’t require root access. However the source page for this fix seems to have gone down due to server issues, but should be live in a few hours as soon as they sort it out. Here’s the link.
As you might know, even the recently unveiled Samsung Nexus 10 features an Exynos chipset on board (5250). But it’s not clear yet if the device is vulnerable to the said exploit. But we presume it is not vulnerable as it isn’t mentioned anywhere in the original XDA thread. So for now, Nexus 10 owners can breathe a sigh of relief.
If you own either of these devices, you have cause for worry:
1) Samsung Galaxy S II
2) Samsung Galaxy S III (quad core versions)
3) Samsung Galaxy S III LTE (GT-I9305)
4) Samsung Galaxy Note (GT-N7000)
5) Samsung Galaxy Note II (GT-N7100)
6) Samsung Galaxy Note II – Verizon version with locked bootloader (SCH-I605)
7) Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (GT-N8010 and GT-N8000)
8) Meizu MX
9) Meizu MX quad core
This is a major embarrassment for Samsung especially considering how well it’s doing in the market. And the timing of the news coming just a week prior to the holidays makes it even worse for the Korean manufacturer. Let’s hope Samsung comes out with a word on the bug and promises a fix on its own instead of letting users rely on third party fixes.