Update your Android OS because hackers might be accessing your camera and photos

A camera security threat for Android devices might have affected hundreds of millions of smartphone and tablet users. The chilling revelation made by researchers exposed a system vulnerability in Android devices that was allowing unauthorized remote use and access to the device’s camera. Malicious apps have been able to spy on non-suspecting users by enabling hackers to access the devices’ images as well as camera functions.

Hackers have been able to not only take pictures but also hide the fact that photos are being taken by silencing the device, so it does not make any noise while pictures are being taken. Then hackers have been able to extract the images and delete them from the device, so the owner never becomes aware that those images ever existed. The vulnerability has also allowed malicious apps to capture video with sound even when the device is locked. Hackers have been able to see their victims’ GPS coordinates too. And they knew when a phone is picked up, or positioned next to the ear. This has been allowing hackers also to listen to and record phone conversations.

The vulnerability has affected android devices from many brands that include Google and Samsung. In a statement to Forbes, Google spokesperson said that the tech giant is “working with Google and Android partners to coordinate disclosure.” According to the same source, the issue was addressed back in July 2019, and a patch has been made available to all partners.

It is currently unknown who has exploited the vulnerability and if hackers or a foreign state have developed those malicious apps. It is also unknown why Google and Samsung did not disclose the vulnerability earlier as they have been aware of it for months. It is also unknown how many people have been directly affected by the security flaw and if this vulnerability was the reason Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked earlier this year.

Update your Android OS

Android devices that have not been updated for more than five months may still be vulnerable to this security thread, which is yet another reason always to keep your device’s OS up-to-date. If your device cannot be updated for some reason, such as the lack of support or its age, now is the time to consider purchasing a new one. Having the last version possible of the OS and reliable antivirus software is a must should you aren’t willing to share information stored n your smart devices.

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