You might have heard of the security issue with Galaxy phones that was everywhere in the media this week. If not, let me fill you in:
Samsung phones come preinstalled with SwiftKey, a very popular alternative keyboard for Android and iOS. Security researchers from NowSecure discovered a vulnerability in the update mechanism for the customized version the company uses and which is being distributed on most of the Galaxy phone models.
According to NowSecure „a remote attacker capable of controlling a user’s network traffic can manipulate the keyboard update mechanism on Samsung phones and execute code as a privileged (system) user on the target’s phone. This can be exploited in a a manner that requires no user interaction — a user does not have to explicitly choose to download a languagePack update to be exploited.“
Samsung itself played the issue down and stated that a “very specific set of conditions” needs to be met in order for the attack to be successful. Nonetheless a patch will be made available soon – after all more than 600 million Samsung Galaxy phones are affected. The drawback is that only devices that have Samsung’s Knox security platform installed will profit from the updates. “For the devices that don’t come with KNOX by default, we are currently working on an expedited firmware update that will be available upon completion of all testing and approvals” the company says in their statement.