Update Your Phone To Protect Against This Scary Android Bug

Photo: Courtesy Google.
Reading a text message is one of the most innocuous things you can do on your phone. But for many Android owners, there's a hidden danger in those messages: A security researcher discovered that through a simple text, a malicious hacker could take control of your handset.

The vulnerability is dubbed "Stagefright." According to Zimperium, the company behind its discovery, Stagefright contains "the worst Android vulnerabilities discovered to date." It affects 950 million potential Android users running OS 2.2 or later. The hack doesn't seem to have been employed on a large scale, but it is reportedly the largest flaw yet discovered on Android.

Luckily, Google is on it. The company began issuing patches to manufacturers such as HTC and Motorola — and carriers such as T-Mobile and Verizon — beginning in June and early July. To protect your phone against a potential threat like Stagefright, make sure it's updated to the latest version it can run. (Yeah, it's annoying to download those security updates, but doing so is the single best way to ensure your device isn't vulnerable to viruses and hackers.)

While Google's Android platform has typically been more susceptible because of its inherently "open" design, iOS also recently suffered a text-message-related snafu: Back in May, folks discovered that if someone sent a message with a specific order of Arabic characters, your iPhone would crash. OS updates have since addressed this problem, too.

We'll take less-trustworthy texts as yet another reason to fuel our Snapchat obsession.

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