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Samsungs’ phones secretly share your images

How would you like if your phone would send random pictures to your contacts without asking first? The best bet is not too much. Then beware, because a bug in Samsung’s default texting app is doing just that.

When people don’t use their phones to call friends and family or to game, they’re most likely texting. So it should not come as a surprise that, like most of the bigger smartphone producers, Samsung includes a basic texting app for all your SMS and MMS needs that’s pre-installed on all its devices called “Samsung Messages” – and which right now has a rather unfortunate glitch: It is sending out images from your phones storage to random users in our contact list.

While you were sleeping

The issue was first brought up on reddit by a guy who claimed that “last night around 2:30 am, my phone sent her [his girlfriend] my entire photo gallery over text but there was no record of it on my messages app.”.  While he seems to be the only one whose phone sent out a whole gallery, other users have since noticed the same issue with their phones. Especially creepy is that the app shows no trace of what has happened – so Samsung users would only ever find out about it if someone would answer to the secretly sent message (or if they’d check the carrier logs – but who does that on a regular basis?)

Most people believe that the cause of the whole bug is some kind of issue between Samsung Messages and RCS profile updates that have recently been rolled out in the US. If that’s indeed the case it would mean that European users are safe – at least for now.  Samsung is aware of the issue and will hopefully push an update soon.

What you can do

If you are living in the US and afraid that some of your images you’d not want anyone to see might reach your boss or your coworkers you can do the following:

  • Go with another messaging app for a while: There are a couple of options out there like Android Messages, Textra, or Mood Messenger. Just take a look at which one suits you best. If you can live without SMS and MMS for the time being, you can also switch to WhatsApp for example.
  • Disallow the app to access the phone’s storage: This is easily done by just going into your Settings –> Apps –> Samsung Messages –> Permission –> Storage. Wait until the issue is resolved and don’t forget to enable the access again once you’ve updated the app. Please note that when using this solution you will not be able to send out any texts until the issue is fixed.

This post is also available in: German

PR & Social Media Manager @ Avira |Gamer. Geek. Tech addict.