The Google Project Zero team has uncovered a significant threat affecting some Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, and Vivo phones. If you don’t want to fall victim to this threat, we’re explaining the 2 settings you need to disable right away.
Security Flaw Discovered by Project Zero Team
Google has a Project Zero team that analyzes software and hardware, searching for vulnerabilities that could allow malicious attackers to infiltrate various devices. This team has found a severe security flaw that allows hackers to remotely control Pixel 7 and 6 series Google phones, some Vivo phones, and many Samsung phones, such as the Galaxy S22.
Security Flaw Source: Exynos Modems
This flaw stems from the Exynos modems within the devices. Until manufacturers, including Google, apply the necessary security patches, users are advised to disable two phone features to eliminate the risk of hacking. These features are VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling. Disabling these features generally won’t affect your overall phone experience.
Disabling VoLTE and Wi-Fi Calling Features
VoLTE allows you to make calls over 4G when enabled, and this feature generally improves the overall quality of phone calls. Wi-Fi calling helps you make calls in areas with poor cellular reception. These features aren’t essential when purchasing a new phone. Even if you’re aware of these features, they probably aren’t that important to you.
Turning Off Features from the Settings App
You can easily disable these features from your phone’s Settings app. Once security updates and Exynos patches begin rolling out, you can re-enable them.
Security Flaws in Exynos Modems
Project Zero reports that there are 18 security flaws in Exynos modems dating back to late 2022 and early 2023. Four of these vulnerabilities, including those allowing an attacker to remotely control phones, are rated critical.
List of Affected Devices
The list of devices affected by these flaws is as follows:
- Samsung mobile devices: including those in the S22, M33, M13, M12, A71, A53, A33, A21, A13, A12, and A04 series;
- Vivo mobile devices: including those in the S16, S15, S6, X70, X60, and X30 series;
- Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series devices;
- All wearable devices using the Exynos W920 chipset;
- All devices using the Exynos Auto T5123 chipset.
Security Updates and Flaw Remediation
Pixel devices received an update this month for one of these security flaws. However, it is still recommended to disable VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling until all vulnerabilities are addressed. As always with security updates, make sure you install them promptly after they become available.
Conclusion: Disable Two Settings to Ensure Your Security
In summary, due to the security flaw discovered by the Google Project Zero team, it is recommended to disable VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling features on affected devices. Turning off these features will not significantly impact your phone experience. You can protect your devices by taking this precaution until security updates and necessary patches for Exynos modems are released.
For affected device owners, it’s essential to stay up-to-date with updates and promptly install security updates as they are released to address vulnerabilities. Remember, your security in the digital world is crucial, and you should always take the necessary precautions to protect your self.
What to Do to Secure Your Phone
In today’s digital age, mobile devices have become an essential part of our lives. As such, it is crucial to ensure the security of our smartphones to protect our personal information and maintain privacy. In this article, we will discuss various steps you can take to secure your phone from potential threats and vulnerabilities.
Enable Strong Authentication Methods
Use Biometric Authentication: Modern smartphones are equipped with biometric authentication features such as fingerprint sensors and facial recognition. These methods provide a higher level of security compared to traditional PINs or passwords.
Set Up a Complex Passcode: If biometric authentication is not available, use a strong, unique passcode or password. Avoid common patterns or easily guessable combinations.
Keep Your Operating System and Apps Updated
Update Your Operating System: Smartphone manufacturers regularly release updates to fix security vulnerabilities and enhance performance. Enable automatic updates or manually check for updates in the device settings.
Update Your Apps: App developers also release updates to address security flaws and improve functionality. Keep your apps updated through your device’s app store.
Be Cautious with Public Wi-Fi Networks
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN): When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, use a VPN to encrypt your data and maintain privacy. A VPN will help prevent hackers from accessing your personal information.
Disable Automatic Wi-Fi Connection: To prevent your phone from automatically connecting to unsecured networks, disable this feature in your device settings.
Install Reputable Security Software
Choose a Trusted Security App: Install a reputable mobile security app from a trusted source to protect your device from malware and viruses.
Regularly Scan Your Device: Conduct regular scans to detect and remove any potential threats.
Secure Your Mobile Browser
Enable Privacy Settings: Adjust your mobile browser’s privacy settings to limit the amount of personal data shared with websites.
Use HTTPS: When browsing, look for the HTTPS prefix in the URL, which indicates a secure connection.
Be Mindful of App Permissions
Review App Permissions: Before installing an app, check its permissions to ensure it only has access to necessary features.
Revoke Unnecessary Permissions: Regularly review and revoke unnecessary permissions granted to apps in your device settings.
Protect Your Device from Physical Theft
Enable Remote Wipe: Set up a remote wipe feature to erase your phone’s data if it is lost or stolen.
Use a Device Tracking App: Install a reputable device tracking app to help locate your phone in case of theft.
Safeguard Your Data with Encryption
Encrypt Your Device: Enable built-in encryption features to protect your phone’s data from unauthorized access.
Encrypt External Storage: If your device supports external storage, use encryption software to secure your data on SD cards and other removable storage devices.
Practice Safe Downloading and Browsing
Download from Trusted Sources: Only download apps from reputable sources such as the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Avoid Clicking Suspicious Links: Be cautious when clicking links in emails, text messages, or social media platforms, as they may lead to malicious websites or downloads.
Regularly Backup Your Data
Use Cloud Storage: Set up automatic backups to a secure cloud storage service to protect your data from loss or damage.
Backup to External Storage: Regularly backup your data to an external storage device, such as a computer or external hard drive.
By following these best practices, you can effectively secure your phone and protect your valuable personal information. Stay vigilant and proactive in implementing these measures to ensure the ongoing safety and privacy of your mobile device.