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  1. Professionals
  2. There's (Almost) Nothing You Can Do About Stagefright
  3. Stagefright (bug)
  4. Main navigation

This would allow unrelated memory to be overwritten, which is again bad. Quite similar to these last ones. A variable is used when skipping over some memory, and this could be made negative during a subtraction like above.

Professionals

There are also some potentially related fixes that look to have made it into [Android] 5. This adds checks to stop issues with a past security fix to add bounds checks, which can itself be overflowed. In C, numbers that can be represented as a signed int are stored as a signed int. Otherwise they remain unchanged during operations. In these checks, some integers could have been made signed rather than unsigned , which would reduce their maximum value later on, and allow for an overflow to take place.

There's (Almost) Nothing You Can Do About Stagefright

Some more integer underflows where numbers are too low, and then subtraction is carried out on those numbers, allowing them to go negative. This again leads to a large number, rather than a small one, and that causes the same issues as above. And finally, another integer overflow. To make matters worse, devices prior to Jelly Bean 4. Whether or not this has been achieved is unknown right now.


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  • Check your Android device for the Stagefright vulnerability!

Those have access to the audio and camera on the device, and the system user is a great place to launch a root exploit from. Remember all the amazing root exploits you used to root your phone? Those could potentially be silently used to gain root on your device! He who has root owns the phone. Once they get root, everything on your phone is open to them.


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Messages, keys, etc. A list of some of those technologies that have been introduced since Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4. This technology makes it more difficult for an attacker to guess the location of code, which is required for them to build a successful exploit….

However, there is still no denying that Stagefright is a serious matter for the future of Android, and as such is being taken seriously by the stakeholders involved. Stagefright also highlighted the white elephants in the room — the problem of fragmentation and of updates finally reaching the consumer. Amongst the first to release an official statement, Google has promised monthly security updates in addition to the planned OS and platform updates for most of its Nexus devices, including the almost 3-year-old Nexus 4.

Samsung has also followed suit by announcing that it will work with carriers and partners to implement a monthly security update program but it failed to specify the devices and timeline details of this implementation.

Stagefright (bug)

Motorola also has announced the list of devices which will be updated with Stagefright fixes, and the list includes almost all devices the company has made since Sony has also said that its devices will soon receive the patches too. For once, carriers are also forthcoming with updates. Sprint has issued a statement that some devices have already received the Stagefright patch, with more devices scheduled for the update.

Verizon has also issued patches, albeit this is a slow rollout that prioritizes high-end smartphones like the Galaxy S6 Edge and Note 4. The T-Mobile Note 4 received a Stagefright patch update as well. As an end-user, there are a few precautionary steps that can be taken to lessen your chances of getting attacked. For starters, disable auto retrieval of MMS messages in the messaging apps present on your phone. This should keep in control the cases where no user interaction was required for the exploit to work. After this, do take care to avoid downloading media from MMS messages from unknown and untrusted sources.

As an XDA power user, you can also make edits on your build prop to disable Stagefright. This is not a complete and sure-fire way to save yourself from Stagefright, but you can take your chances to lessen the likelihood of a successful attack if you are stuck on an older Android build. If you are running an AOSP based rom, it is highly recommended that you update to a newer release of the ROM which incorporates the Stagefright patches. You can use this app to check if your current daily driver is affected by Stagefright.

Stagefright has been nothing but a wake up call towards Android and its problem of fragmentation as well as updates. It highlights how there is no clear mechanism by way of which such critical fixes can be rolled out in a timely manner to numerous devices. With Android M coming closer to market release by the day, it would be no surprise if Google chose to break away more and more components of AOSP in favor of its Play services package. After all, that is one area that Google still retains complete control over if a device is to ship with Google Play Store.

This has its own downsides in the form of replacing open sourced areas with close sourced walls.

Stagefright (Aardman Animations)

Another route that may be a possibility would be to make it mandatory for all devices shipping with Google Play Store to receive guaranteed security updates for a fixed time period, possibly two years. The Play Services framework could be used to check for the presence of important security updates and patches, with Play Store access being rescinded in case of non-compliance. This is still speculation at best as there is no elegant way to fix this problem. Short of a very totalitarian approach, there will always be some shortcoming in the reach of fixes.

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The need of the hour is a rethinking of the way Android updates as the current way is certainly not the best. Is your phone vulnerable to Stagefright? Do you think your phone will ever receive a Stagefright patch? Let us know in the comments below! Discuss This Story Tags exploit fragmentation stagefright Update Want more posts like this delivered to your inbox? Enter your email to be subscribed to our newsletter.

Commerce and Law graduate with a passion for all things Android, Aamir frequently helps people get the best out of their budget smartphones through generous use of custom roms and kernels. As a result, propagating patches to the actual devices often introduces long delays due to a large fragmentation between the manufacturers, device variants, Android versions, and various Android customizations performed by the manufacturers; [27] [28] furthermore, many older or lower cost devices may never receive patched firmware at all.

Therefore, the nature of Stagefright bug highlights the technical and organizational difficulties associated with the propagation of Android patches. As an attempt to address the delays and issues associated with the propagation of Android patches, on August 1, Zimperium formed the Zimperium Handset Alliance ZHA as an association of different parties interested in exchanging information and receiving timely updates on Android's security-related issues.

Members of the ZHA also received source code of the Zimperium's proof-of-concept Stagefright exploit before it was publicly released. Certain mitigations of the Stagefright bug exist for devices that run unpatched versions of Android, including disabling the automatic retrieval of MMS messages and blocking the reception of text messages from unknown senders.

However, these two mitigations are not supported in all MMS applications the Google Hangouts app, for example, only supports the former , [2] [4] and they do not cover all feasible attack vectors that make exploitation of the Stagefright bug possible by other means, such as by opening or downloading a malicious multimedia file using the device's web browser.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Stagefright Logo of the Stagefright library bug. July 30, Retrieved July 31, Retrieved July 28, Vaughan-Nichols July 27, The Guardian. Retrieved July 29, July 27, May 8, July 28, August 5, Retrieved August 25, Retrieved October 8, August 21, August 7, August 1, Drake May 5, Retrieved August 5, May 12, August 13, Archived from the original on August 13, Retrieved August 15, October 1, Retrieved October 1, PC Magazine.

Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Is Your Smartphone or Tablet Vulnerable?

Retrieved August 2, Android Central.