Hackers will exploit any weakness they can find. It’s up to you to make sure that’s not easy to do. If you have an Android, you should know, more than 950 million of them are vulnerable to what’s being called the Stagefright virus.
Truth is, it’s not really a virus yet, but the vulnerability could give a hacker access to all the data on your phone, and the option to copy or delete it.
In this case, it doesn’t matter whether you are careful not to download any suspect apps. The virus could get in through an app that’s already part of your Android operating system, the one responsible for text messages. By default, it processes incoming multi-media messages without asking you first.
“It’s exploiting an automatic trigger in your phone so when your phone gets a certain message or a certain action happens it does it automatically, so anytime you’re exploiting something that happens automatically, you’re unaware of it, so a lot of folks don’t even know that they’ve been exploited for this virus or this malicious attack,” said Luke Vanwingerden with USC Upstate’s IT Department.
Still, any operating system from 4.0 and above allows you to make the fix yourself. In your text messages, open the settings (by pressing on the 3 dots at the bottom) and uncheck Auto-Retrieve. You can also see if you’re vulnerable by downloading the Stagefright Detector App.
Users who have 2.0 to 4.0 will simply have to wait for the operating system upgrade. Since there are so many different phones and carriers, those will be rolling out over time, rather than all at once like Apple’s iPhone.