As a species, we’ve grown lazy with time. The more we develop and the more we innovate, the more we strive to make our lives as comfortable as possible. And our constant connectivity to IoT (Internet of Things) is one of the biggest proofs of that. We have fallen into one of our specie’s oldest pit traps.
By sacrificing our privacy in order to be permanently online and more comfortable we’ve knowingly sacrificed some of our freedom. And even though Benjamin Franklin put it somewhat differently and with something totally different in mind, his classical saying still applies. We’ve sacrificed freedom for comfort instead of safety, but it still counts. So surely but slowly, we’re losing it all.
Old Android ‘Metaphor’
According to a research paper published by the Israeli company NorthBit, Metaphor exploit threatens millions of Android phones. And it’s not a new issue, either, as the tech titan has already attempted to patch the vulnerability twice before. Still, the exploit has once again become available to hackers.
If any Android phone running versions of Android starting from 2.2 to 4.0, 5.0 and 5.1 accesses a malicious website, hackers might already have access to the user data and functions of the phone. The exploit was found in the operating system’s multimedia library and media server.
Ways to avoid it
Named ‘Metaphor’, the exploit works on Google Nexus 5, Samsung S5, HTC One, and LG G3. The limited number of machines it affects is one of the exploit’s weaknesses, although it can be modified to also work on other devices – but this is the second weakness.
Different code has to be written for each device the hackers want to infect, so they would have to spend a lot of time for each type of phone they want to hijack. Additionally, the latest version of Android, Marshmallow or 6.0, available only on selected devices, can prevent the exploit entirely.
What it means for development
After all the hacking attempts seen in the past half a year, developers have to step their game. Sure, mobile phones are an important part of our lives today, even though we mostly take them for granted. But that doesn’t mean that we get to revert to the olden days. We have to stand our ground.
And even worse are hacking attacks that can actually cost lives, like how a terrorist hacker group blackmailed a hospital into giving them bitcoins by holding the patients for ransom. The doctors gave in after the group shut down their computer system temporarily and after they saw that the police did nothing to protect them.
Image source: Flickr