Android is the undisputed king of mobile operating systems, commanding an impressive 76.23% of the total smartphone market. To get an idea of how insanely popular Android has become, simply consider the fact that it’s almost four times as common as the next most popular operating system, iOS, which has a market share of just above 22%. While this is great news for Google/Alphabet, Android’s immense popularity can also have some unpleasant side effects.
A recent exploit discovered under Android’s hood is teaching us why you should be extra careful with how you manage your Android device.
What’s Going on with Android Security?
Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative is a center for locating and reporting various 0-day exploits and hacks. These hacks get their name from the fact that they target a known security flaw that the software developer hasn’t fixed yet. This organization reported a significant flaw to Google as early as March, but the tech giant couldn’t find the time to fix it. The result? Your phone’s vulnerabilities are exposed to hackers and other malicious forces. Luckily, there’s still plenty you can do to protect yourself.
Why Is This Happening?
Android is the leading mobile operating system in terms of market share. That makes it a prime target for hackers simply because there are so many users potentially exposed to their attacks. Here, we’re seeing a combination of factors. On one side, we have overzealous hackers looking to compromise your phone in any way possible, and on the other, we have an organization that hasn’t found the time to fix a bug reported more than 6 months ago.
What Can I Do to Fix the Issue?
The exploit in question has to do with App privileges on your phone. Specifically, it has to do with applications that have access to your Camera for video recording. As things currently stand, a malicious app can escalate its relatively low-level privileges to grant full system access to your personal and financial information.
Step 1: Restrict App Privileges to Apps You Absolutely Trust
This is a relatively simple fix. However, until the issue is fixed, it may require some vigilance on your part. Go to Settings, then select Apps and Notifications. From here, select App Permissions and then Camera Permissions. This is where you can manage camera access for apps installed. Restrict camera access for all apps that don’t need it.
Step 2: Future-Proof Yourself
Antivirus makers offer plenty of enhanced security measures for Android devices. They are often bundled together with their PC/Mac versions in one attractive package. We recommend you see our rankings for the best antivirus of 2019.