Worried about the “Stagefright” exploit on your Android phone?

July 30, 2015

The latest techno-scare has taken the media by storm, and could also take your phone! An exploit, dubbed “Stagefright,” can allow an attacker to fully compromise your Android phone and your phone’s data. The worst part, is that it can happen whether you interact with the phone, or not. Your Android phone just needs to be on and able to receive MMS (image, video, etc.) via the Messaging app. This affects ALL Android phones beginning with version 2.2.

If you like to read, details are all over the Internet.
Here is one reputable source on the topic: http://www.trendmicro.com/vinfo/us/security/news/mobile-safety/android-flaw-discovered-950-million-users-at-risk

If you just want to know what you can do about it, in short, here are the options (mutually exclusive):

  1. Turn off your phone and never turn it back on.
  2. Switch to a Windows Phone or iPhone.
  3. Buy a brand new Android phone, ensuring it has the patch for this exploit.
  4. Disable automatic MMS retrieval in your Messaging app’s settings and wait for an update from your phone’s manufacturer. *my personal choice*

If you like pictures, here’s a very quick piece on how to apply solution #4, above: http://www.greenbot.com/article/2954235/android/how-to-protect-yourself-from-the-stagefright-security-flaw.html

Furthermore, DO NOT click on media files of unknown origin. The same “safe browsing” rules for your home computer apply to your phone.