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Sunday, 30 September 2012

Android bug seen as risk

Cellphones using Google’s Android operating system are at risk of being disabled or wiped clean of their data, including contacts, music and photos because of a security flaw that was discovered several months ago but went unnoticed until now.
Opening a link to a website or a mobile application embedded with malicious code can trigger an attack capable of destroying the memory card in Android-equipped handsets made by Samsung, HTC, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, rendering the devices useless, computer security researcher Ravi Borgaonkar wrote in a blog post Friday. Another code that can erase a user’s data by performing a factory reset of the device appears to target the newly released and top-selling Galaxy S III and other Samsung phones, he wrote.
Borgaonkar informed Google of the vulnerability in June, he said. A fix was issued quickly, he said, but it wasn’t publicized, leaving smartphone owners largely unaware that the problem existed and how they could fix it.
Versions of Android that are vulnerable include Gingerbread, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean, according to Borgaonkar. He said the Honeycomb version of Android, designed for tablets, needs to be tested to determine if it is at risk as well.

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