Android: Old enemies, new security measures
March 18, 2016 at 5:00 p.m.
As we have mentioned on other occasions, being the most used operating system in the world also has its disadvantages. In the case of Android, we find the coexistence between this operating system, and more than two million threats directed against it that, despite being harmless and not having major repercussions in almost all cases, can sometimes wreak havoc on millions of users if the software developers do not know how to detect or eliminate them in time. An example of these attacks can be found in one of the greatest vulnerabilities not only of this operating system but of the entire history of the software that could affect more than 900 million people.
However, we find a complex situation: On the one hand, attacks increase and on the other, the developers incorporate improvements or, in physical aspects of the software such as the incorporation of markers such as the fingerprint reader, or, with security improvements and guarantee of privacy of users and their contents in the applications themselves. March is being a month full of news in this regard. Next, we tell you the new vulnerabilities that have emerged in the most recent versions of Android and also, how they are reacting the most downloaded and used tools in the world to deal with these threats.
This malware is one of those that causes greater headaches to those of Mountain View. We already heard from him in the summer due to his great capacity for contagion between devices and the fact that it was very easy to be attacked by Stagefight since he used the MMS to reach the terminals. However, a name change occurs and is renamed Metaphor and of which one of its most harmful actions is the erasure of all stored content. Its main objectives are all those tablets and smartphones equipped with versions 5.1, 5.0, 4.0 and 2.1.
The Snapdragon case
On other occasions we have talked about the new generation of processors created by Qualcomm and reaching higher speeds as well as better management of resources compared to their predecessors. However, these more recent models are being the target of hackers since they can use this component to access the administrator permission exclusive to the operating system and freely manipulate the devices that it infects by stealing the hosted information on the one hand and on the other, rendering the terminals useless.
The reaction of Facebook and Whatsapp
On many occasions, the aggressions they come from Applications that, in some of their files they may contain harmful elements without their creators and finally, the users, are aware of it. No tool escapes this setback, not even the most used and that at first glance, they should be the safest. To counteract the effect of the attacks and to meet the demands of security protection and, above all, privacy, so demanded by millions of people for a long time, the creators of Facebook and Whatsapp have begun to implant the encryption in conversations, sending voice files and other audiovisual content. On the other hand, it is also expected that in the coming months, the group talks of the messaging application will also go through the incorporation of encryption.
How to prevent Stagefight attacks?
Currently, we find new corrections and patches with a frequency that ranges from one to two months. Although they arrive late, they are limiting the impact of all this type of software. In the case of attacks by Stagefight, the best alternative is to update to the version Marshmallow of Android in case it is possible. If our devices are older and do not have this possibility, versions later than 4.2 are also a good barrier against this malware.
Are we facing an improvement in security?
The protection of the users is still a pending task to be solved by the signatures and also by the creators of applications. In many cases, improvements come slowly and after complaints and complaints from millions of users. However, not everything is negative and little by little we are seeing how, although the number of attacks and malicious elements continues to increase, security is also increased with the incorporation of patterns such as those mentioned before. After learning more about some of the vulnerabilities that Android faces, but that nevertheless, have remained latent in recent months, do you think that although manufacturers continue to improve their terminals, there will always be attacks and hackers will always find ways to access our devices, or nevertheless, do you think that their action will be limited with the new updates and models that go on the market? You have available more related information such as, for example, the greatest risks to which we expose ourselves when using our tablets and smartphones and how to minimize them to be able to enjoy them without frights.