A vulnerability has been discovered in Samsung keyboards, which have unfortunately been installed in over 600million devices since last year, when the bug was first discovered. As the Samsung bug exposes Android users to hackers, it means those who know how can not only access the user’s phone, but also take control of it. The glitch, which is found in the updating part of the keyboard, which looks for regular language updates as it looks for trending words.
The extent to which hackers can access user’s phones have been revealed. Unlawful access to these smartphones means hackers have complete control over microphone, GPS, camera and even the ability to listen in on calls and obtain any data found on the hardware. Samsung have reportedly been told about the issue at the end of last year, asking not to reveal the details about the vulnerability until a patch can be implemented. But even months after the security concern was raised, there still has been no official word from Samsung in regards to a fix. But due to the nature of how Samsung roll updates out to its users, it is not known when a patch would be available.
Even if users were to install a different keyboard, one of many that are available on the store, it still won’t necessarily fix the problem. It is Samsung’s own keyboard which integrates Swiftkey compatibility, detecting what the user is inputting in order to predict what words are to be used. The same technology exists in other smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone but no problem has been reported with them. This means that the problem exists on Samsung’s end, not Swiftkey, or any other keyboard software.
A hacker can access an infected user by doing so over an unsecured wifi network, when the keyboard attempts to download an update, the hacker can gain backdoor access to the phone instead. This malicious access to user’s smartphones means the attacker can almost have complete control over the phone. The only way to really avoid becoming a victim of this bug, is by being careful as to what wireless networks you join. If you are someone who accesses a lot of public wifi zones such as coffee shops, airports or libraries, then extra care should be taken to avoid them until a patch has been officially released.