A new hack has been discovered that could bypass the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 homescreen and allow anyone to run apps or dial numbers even if the device is locked. Terence Eden first discovered this on a device running on Android 4.1.2 which he published in his blog.
The hack can bypass the Pattern Lock, PIN, password, or Face Unlock of a device. If you’re interested in checking out the hack the steps are listed below.
- Lock the device with a “secure” pattern, PIN, or password.
- Activate the screen.
- Press “Emergency Call”.
- Press the “ICE” button on the bottom left.
- Hold down the physical home key for a few seconds and then release.
- The phone’s home screen will be displayed – briefly.
- While the home screen is displayed, click on an app or a widget.
- The app or widget will launch.
- If the widget is “direct dial” the phone will start ringing.
While the hack may sound serious it really isn’t. The ability to make a call depends if you have a direct dial widget on your homescreen. The apps that will be launched will automatically be pushed back into the background. If the app automatically performs an action on launch like do a voice recording then that action will continue in the background. The only privacy concern you should worry about is someone will get to know what apps you have installed. They will also know your calendar entries or emails if you use a widget.
Eden has also listed steps on how to protect your device against this hack.
- Do not use direct dial widgets on your homescreen.
- Remove any calendar or email widgets which may show sensitive information from your homescreens.
- Ensure that any apps which you do have on your homescreens do not automatically cost you money or act maliciously when launched.
- Use an app locker to prompt for a password when apps are launched.
- Changing to a different launcher will not protect you.
- Using a 3rd party lock screen will not protect you if it accesses the emergency dialer.
As of this writing Samsung hasn’t made any statement yet regarding this issue.