Google Warns Of Potential Exploits In Samsung, Vivo, And Pixel Phones

By Elizabeth Kartini
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Google's cybersecurity experts and analysts, Project Zero, have warned that a series of exploits could compromise select phones made by Samsung, Vivo, and Pixel simply by knowing basic phone numbers. In a blog post, Project Zero described 18 different potential exploits that could be used to hack into select phones using Samsung's Exynos modems. Four of these exploits require only the right phone number for an attacker to gain access to data flowing in and out of a device's modem, such as phone calls and text messages. The other 14 exploits are less severe and require more effort to expose vulnerabilities.

Samsung has acknowledged the vulnerabilities and released security updates for devices that could be affected, advising owners to update to the latest software to stay protected. Google recommends that device owners can avoid being targeted by these exploits by turning off Wi-Fi calling and Voice-over-LTE, or VoLTE, in their device settings.

Affected devices include phones from Samsung, including those in the premium Galaxy S22 series, the midrange M33, M13, M12, A71, and A53 series, and the affordable A33, A21, A13, A12, and A04 series. Mobile devices from Vivo, including those in the S16, S15, S6, X70, X60, and X30 series, as well as the premium Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series of phones from Google, are also affected.

Google reported these exploit discoveries to affected phone manufacturers in late 2022 and early 2023. Still, the Project Zero team has chosen not to disclose four other vulnerabilities out of caution due to their ongoing severity, breaking with its usual practice of disclosing all exploits a set period of time after reporting them to affected companies.

Phone owners should install upcoming security updates as soon as possible, but it is up to the phone makers to decide when a software patch will come out for each device. This issue highlights the need for continued vigilance and quick action to protect against potential exploits in smartphone technology.

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