US-based cybersecurity firm Checkpoint on Sunday discovered security flaws in software found used on tens of millions of android devices already on market, world over.
This flaws can give a hacker complete access to the system of any of the implicated devices thereby taking the gadget's full control, including making calls, taking photographs and sending SMS.
The research firm discovered the bug when looking at software running on chipsets made by US company Qualcomm.
Qualcomm processors are found in about 900 million Android devices like tablets and phones, the company said.
Affected devices included:
- BlackBerry Priv
- Blackphone 1 and Blackphone 2
- Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P
- HTC One, HTC M9 and HTC 10
- LG G4, LG G5, and LG V10
- New Moto X by Motorola
- OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3
- US versions of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsun S7 Edge
- Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
However, there is no evidence of the vulnerabilities currently being used in attacks by hackers.
"I'm pretty sure you will see these vulnerabilities being used in the next three to four months," said Michael Shaulov, head of mobility product
management at Checkpoint.
"It's always a race as to who finds the bug first, whether it's the good guys or the bad." he added.
Shaulov said six months of work to reverse engineer Qualcomm's code revealed the problems.
The flaws were found in software that handles graphics and in code that controls communication between different processes running inside a phone.
Checkpoint handed information about the bugs and proof of concept code to Qualcomm earlier
In response, Qualcomm is believed to have created patches for the bugs and started to use the fixed versions in its factories.
It has also distributed the patches to phone makers and operators.
However, it is not clear how many of those companies have issued
updates to customers' phones.
Checkpoint has created a free app called QuadRooter Scanner that can be used to check if a phone is vulnerable to any of the bugs, by
looking to see if the patches for them have been downloaded and installed.
In addition, Mr Shaulov said Android owners should only download apps from the official Google Play store to avoid falling victim to
"People should call whoever sold them their phone, their operator or the manufacturer, and beg them for the patches," Shaulov said.