There’s some bad news and there’s some good news.
The bad news is the security vulnerability called Stagefright that exists in Android software will likely not be fully patched in all devices for a while.
The good news, though, is that there is now an app that can at least help you know if your phone or tablet is vulnerable and assist you in mitigating the risk associated with the security bug.
On Wednesday, the security firm LookOut released the app called the Stagefright Detector in the Google Play app store that basically tells Android users if their phones are still exposed or if it has received the necessary software updates.
If a user’s device has not yet been patched, then the app alerts you to change your message settings to help mitigate the risk of users being affected by Stagefright.
The key thing users will want to do is turn off auto-fetching of MMS messages in their settings. The app walks users through how to do this step by step.
One things the app is not is a security patch. It simply aims to help users get some insight on whether their devices are affected.
Stagefright basically works by sending a text messages with infected video. Researchers at the security firm Zimperium first revealed the bug last week and said that about 95% of Android devices were vulnerable to the attack.
To make matters worse, the researchers said in some cases the bug could be spread via text without the mobile user even seeing or opening the message.
Google has since said that most Android devices are protected because of a programming technique called “address space layout randomization” (ASLR).
However, security researchers are still cautioning people to turn of the auto-fetch features and encouraging users to update their software as soon as they receive updates from their carrier.
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