How to protect your phone from the creepy Exynos modem vulnerability

The right way to defend your cellphone from the creepy Exynos modem vulnerability

Each now and again, a significant safety flaw is found within the units you utilize in your every day life, which may put your privateness in danger. Lately, Google’s Undertaking Zero workforce revealed a number of distant code execution vulnerabilities in Exynos modems that might enable hackers to compromise a number of the finest Android telephones like Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 with none consumer interplay . Worse nonetheless, all they wanted to do was know the sufferer’s cellphone quantity to take action. So how are you going to keep secure when you personal an Android cellphone, watch, or perhaps a automotive that makes use of an affected Exynos modem?


How severe is the Samsung Exynos modem vulnerability?

Very dangerous. In complete, Google’s Undertaking Zero discovered 18 zero-day vulnerabilities in Samsung’s Exynos modems. Of those, 4 are essential points as a result of they permit distant code execution with none consumer interplay. This enables a hacker to remotely compromise your cellphone on the modem stage simply by understanding your cellphone quantity.

Under are the CVE-IDs (Frequent Vulnerabilities and Exposures) of the 4 exploits:

  • CVE-2023-24033
  • CVE-2023-26496
  • CVE-2023-26497
  • CVE-2023-26498

It’s unknown if hackers used these exploits within the wild.

Both approach, Undertaking Zero chief Tim Willis believes a talented hacker can benefit from the exploit very quickly to compromise the sufferer’s cellphone. And because of the severity concerned and a “very uncommon mixture of stage of entry these vulnerabilities present and the velocity with which we consider a dependable operational exploit” could be engineered, the Undertaking Zero workforce has determined to reveal the 4 exploits at a later date. as soon as they’re totally patched.

As for the remaining 14 vulnerabilities, they aren’t as severe since they require the hacker to realize entry to the system or contain a dishonest cellular community operator.

Which Samsung units and modems are affected by the vulnerability?

In keeping with Samsung Semiconductor’s product safety web page, affected chipsets embrace Exynos 5123 and 5300 modems, in addition to Exynos 980, 1080, 1280 and 2200 processors.

The next units are affected by the Samsung modem vulnerabilities:

  • Google Pixel 6 sequence, together with the Pixel 6a
  • Google Pixel 7 sequence
  • Vivo S6, S15, S16, X30, X60, X70 sequence
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Sequence
  • Samsung Galaxy A04, A12, A13, A21s, A32s, A33, A53, A71, M12, M13 and M33 sequence
  • Autos with Exynos Auto T5123 chipset

Initially, Samsung’s Exynos W920 wearable chipset discovered within the Galaxy Watch 4 and Watch 5 sequence was additionally considered weak. Nevertheless, this was incorrect, with Samsung updating its safety advisory for the reason that preliminary announcement to take away any point out of the chip.

The right way to safe your Google Pixel 6 or Pixel 7 towards the creepy Exynos modem vulnerability?

Google mounted all 4 essential vulnerabilities in its Pixel telephones with the March 2023 safety patch. You may examine the corporate’s newest Android safety bulletin to substantiate this. Initially, the Undertaking Zero workforce thought that Google solely mounted one of many 4 vulnerabilities with this replace, however that is not the case.

Google Pixel 7 Pro

So when you personal one in every of Google’s 2021 or 2022 Pixel telephones, your finest wager is to put in the newest safety patch to guard your self from this creepy vulnerability. As a bonus, the March Characteristic Drop additionally brings a number of new options to the telephones.

Whereas Google launched the main points of this month’s safety patch on March 13, the OTA replace did not go stay for Pixel 6 customers till every week in a while March 20. It is nonetheless doable to manually obtain the replace if it nonetheless hasn’t proven up in your cellphone.

It’s also possible to disable Wi-Fi Calling in your Pixel till the March 2023 Replace seems for obtain. It may be carried out from Settings -> Community & Web -> SIMs -> Wi-Fi Calling and disable the toggle for Allow Wi-Fi Calling.

The catch is that there is no technique to disable VoLTE on Pixel telephones since it is a carrier-controlled toggle. Relying in your community operator, the choice could seem below the Community and Web menu, though your mileage could differ.

Many carriers don’t assist voice calls with out VoLTE. Disabling VoLTE could due to this fact have an effect on voice calls in your cellphone.

Whereas all the pieces is ok till the March 2023 safety replace hits your cellphone, you possibly can disable SIM connectivity fully in your Pixel 6 or Pixel 7 if the vulnerability bothers you an excessive amount of.

The right way to safe your Samsung cellphone towards the creepy Exynos modem vulnerability?

Surprisingly, Samsung states in its assertion to Android Police that not one of the six recognized vulnerabilities are “extreme”. Amongst them, the corporate has already mounted 5 exploits with its March 2023 firmware. The Korean large will repair the remaining exploit with the April 2023 safety replace.

Under is Samsung’s assertion in full:

Samsung takes the safety of its clients very severely. After figuring out that 6 vulnerabilities may doubtlessly influence sure Galaxy units, none of which had been “severe”, Samsung launched safety patches for five of them in March. One other safety patch will probably be launched in April to handle the remaining vulnerability. As all the time, we advocate that every one customers maintain their units updated with the newest software program to make sure the very best stage of safety doable.

Samsung was the primary firm to roll out the March 2023 safety patch for its telephones. For the reason that begin of the month, the corporate has expanded its rollout to incorporate nearly all of its well-liked flagship and mid-range units launched in recent times. So, you possibly can defend your cellphone from this Exynos Modem vulnerability simply by putting in the newest firmware on it.

Nevertheless, some low-end Galaxy A and M sequence telephones have but to obtain the patch. Within the meantime, you possibly can disable Wi-Fi and VoLTE calling on the cellphone. Here is how.

  1. Transfer in the direction of Settings -> Connections in your Samsung cellphone.
  2. Disable the Wi-Fi calling swap to the menu.

Like Pixels, Samsung would not present a toggle to disable VoLTE on its telephones. You may work round this limitation by switching your cellphone to 2G/3G solely mode from Settings -> Connections -> Cellular networks -> Community mode.

Whereas it would seem to be Samsung did a greater job than Google of patching the Exynos modem vulnerability, that is apparently not the case. As Undertaking Zero safety researcher Maddie Stone notes in a tweet, the exploits had been disclosed to Samsung a minimum of 90 days earlier than the report was revealed. And but, not all affected Galaxy telephones have obtained the replace on the time of writing. To be truthful, Google had far fewer units to repair, however that is no comfort for individuals who find yourself with weak telephones.

What about Vivo telephones?

Vivo X90 Pro with Vivo logo

When you have a Vivo cellphone affected by the vulnerabilities, your solely choice is to disable VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling till the corporate deploys a patch. In contrast to Samsung and Google, Vivo is just not identified for its quick software program updates. Moreover, all affected units are previous, so it is unclear if the corporate will even roll out the March 2023 patch.

What in case your automotive makes use of the affected Exynos chipset?

Sadly, there’s not a lot you are able to do in case your automotive makes use of the Exynos Auto T5123 chipset. In contrast to telephones, you possibly can’t simply flip off Wi-Fi and VoLTE calling and name it a day. However on the intense facet, it’s tougher to hack your automotive’s Exynos modem remotely as a result of its quantity is just not simply identified.

Samsung is probably going working with affected automakers to deploy a repair for the Exynos modem vulnerability. However we do not know when that can occur. Most vehicles robotically set up an replace within the background, so you will not know when the exploit has been mounted.

If the choice exists in your automotive’s infotainment system, you possibly can utterly disable cellular connectivity for a number of weeks. This could hopefully be sufficient for Samsung and your automotive producer to repair the exploit. Till then, nonetheless, you will be unable to benefit from any of your automobile’s distant capabilities.

Author: ZeroToHero

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