Introduction: Android Security | Stagefright

About: A self-employed nerd.

So android has issues. Not only does it have Google attempting to update backend-software on Android it also has to deal with manufacturers and what they want to do with the devices on their network. Where does that leave the user? In "SOL land."

The latest security vulnerability in Android is being called Stagefright, discovered by Zimperium. Simply put, a lot of android devices may not see immediate patching or patching of the vulnerability at all due to how carriers handle their android updates. So, we're going to protect ourselves. Follow me to the next step to begin protecting yourself...

Step 1: What Is Stagefright

Per Trend Micro, Stagefright is a vulnerability in the media server component of Android. So this pretty much affects everything on our device -- from MMS to mp4 videos playing in your choice browser. The vulnerability name comes from the attack itself -- this is a direct attack on the component in your android system called Stagefright.

Follow me to next step to see if your device needs patching...

Step 2: Are You Vulnerable?

So, let's see if we are currently in need of a patch for this issue. Follow this link to the Google Play Store. This is a small app that will probe for all Stagefright vulnerabilities. If it finds any unpatched files on your system it will tell you that you are vulnerable. If you're squeaky clean, you may safely stop reading this instructable!

If you're vulnerable, follow me to the next step...

Step 3: MMS Auto-retrieval

Okay the first point of attack is your Messaging application. Whatever your message application is: Messages, Message+, Hangouts we need to opening up Settings. From there select Multimedia Messages. Now uncheck Auto Retrieve.

It is worth noting that this alone will not protect you on the messaging end. If you still decide to accept an MMS message from someone that you don't know then you may possibly be "attacked."

Let's continue on to the next step to further protect ourselves...

Step 4: Your Browser Too...

Okay! It's worth noting that your browser can also be the gate to a Stagefright attack. The best bet? If you're on an unrooted device your only option is to avoid video streaming websites that seem untrustworthy. Better yet, stop by the Play Store and get either Lookout Anti-Virus or Avira Anti-Virus (both are free)-- while not a preventative measure, scanning after the fact of getting a virus is a surefire way to getting rid of the vulnerability if you are indeed affected.

I wish you the best of luck out there!

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