Chip manufacturer Qualcomm have had to start immediate work on patches for bugs found in around 900 million Android phones.
The bugs occur in the communication of graphics between different internal systems in the phone and it’s said that this can be used to gain access to information of the the phone. Unfortunately it’s not just randomised system information at risk. Over time, the bugs can be used to take control of the device and gain access to personal data. That’s photos, payment information and any other close information that you may have input through your android phone to perhaps pay a bill, or order a pair of shoes online.
The phones effected are mainly devices with the Snapdragon processors. The latest 820 version powers phones such as the Galaxy Edge S7, HTC 10 and LG G5.
However, Qualcomm chips have for a long time, been favoured by tech manufacturers producing Android phones and I’ve done some digging to how far back these vunerabilities go. The answer is, there isn’t a definite answer… Sorry! There doesn’t seem to be any clear indication of what drivers are used in how many different CPUs and how many phones all these CPUs could be in. So the chances are that my old, bruised and battered HTC Tattoo that has been at home in a kitchen drawer for six years, which sported an old Qualcomm 520 processor, could also have the same risks. Only, it’s dead so it really doesn’t matter.
So time for some good news, right?
Well thankfully there’s plenty. This made a good story for tech nerds come wannabe blogger/journalists. The figure of 900 million is massive and therefore, one would think, massive news. However, these findings by Checkpoint were published in April. Qualcomm’s share prices took a slight hit, but last month saw them climb steeply back up even through the ‘viral’ distribution of this story.
Also, Google are hot on security. With each patch they have plugged certain holes in the Qualcomm drivers which could be targeted, so the weaknesses have almost disappeared entirely before they could be taken advantage of.
In short, I found this an interesting story as, sat in a sleek white studio (and in front of an iMac typing this story up), I am the odd one out with an Android phone. My Galaxy S6 doesn’t contain a Snapdragon processor and I was already sure of that, but if you aren’t as certain whether you’re effected or not, Checkpoint’s QuadRoot Scanner App is available to download from the Play Store, for peace of mind.