Million Cheap Androids with Big Security Gap

Hundreds of millions of smartphones with the operating system Android 4.4 can be hijacked by hackers. Reason: Forgot a program needed for the production phase in its processors for Android 4.4 the Taiwanese chip maker Mediatek.
The prospect that criminals can read all data of a Smartphone, is a disaster. Especially when access to hackers is quite simple and at the same time is worth the effort. Because all over the world millions of smartphones and tablets you can hijack.

Which devices are affected?

Million Cheap Androids with Big Security Gap
It was the first message by Justin Case on Twitter about the possibility that hackers can skim the data of Android smart-phones. Photo: Justin Case, Twitter

Nobody knows exactly. Generally, all devices with the Android operating system 4.4 are affected, which are equipped with a chip of the manufacturer Mediatek. This is true for Tablet devices like Amazon’s fire tablets as well as for mostly cheap smartphones of in particular Chinese manufacturers such as Lenovo, Huawei, and oppo.

What is Android KitKat?

4.4, Android called KitKat, is a good two-year-old version of the operating system. And thus it is according to the standards of the mobile industry. However, to run still in about one-third of all worldwide used Android smartphones. And that would be at least several hundred millions, rather around a billion mobile phones – the available figures are not very reliable.

Million Cheap Androids with Big Security Gap 2
Production at the plant of the Chinese Smartphone and Tablet manufacturers Lenovo in Wuhan. Mainly Chinese smart-phones by Lenovo and Huawei Android 4.4 operating system are affected. Photo: Lenovo

What is the security vulnerability of KitKat?

A security expert who appears on Twitter as “Justin Case”, has found a small gap that can make big problems. A program is included on the Mediatek chip, which should serve the hardware producers and Chinese network operators for error analysis. On the delivered devices it should no longer contain software, it says.

She is now but. Mediatek pushes the responsibility on the hardware manufacturer who had failed to delete. “Justin Case”, however, sees the decisive mistake for the chip producer: “Mediatek broke basic safety rules,” he wrote in a tweet.

The problem in itself not even denies the company, which has its headquarters in Taiwan, according to own one of the world’s largest chip manufacturer is. For hackers program offers back door to gain access to all data stored on the mobile phone and phone also totally lame to put. With some effort, criminals could through this backdoor root privileges to assign and assume complete control.

How can I protect tablets and Smartphones?

It is not known whether anyone has tried to hijack smartphones. Only the Chinese manufacturers know what smartphone models ever of the problem also affected. Mediatek said that work on a solution and soon to count on. This statement is however also nearly three weeks old far there was no success message.

As long as the problem is not solved risk for the owner continues. You can do as a check whether KitKat and Mediatek processor in your phone are installed according to experts. This is usually in the settings through a menu item named “Info”, “about this phone” or something similar. Therefore only the cell phone out of service who is affected can take to really avoid any risk.