Stagefright shocks Samsung, LG, and Google into taking phone security seriously

android cyber police ransomware news nearly a billion phones could be hackable with single text message
The Stagefright bug, which could see Android phones hacked using a single message, seems to have shocked manufacturers into taking smartphone security seriously. Many have already issued fixes, but several have gone a step further, and announced they will be sending out security patches on a regular basis.

Updated on 08-07-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in comment from ZTE

Samsung commits to monthly security fixes

Samsung was one of the first to officially announce such a scheme. In a post on its official Samsung Tomorrow site, the company says it’ll be pushing the fixes over-the-air when new vulnerabilities are uncovered, and expects to be sending one out on an approximately monthly basis. It freely admits the Stagefright problem prompted it into taking action.

However, don’t just expect these updates to start showing up immediately. Samsung still has to work with networks around the world to ensure the new software is sent out in a timely manner, and hasn’t announced which phones it will be concentrating on. Samsung’s range of Android devices is huge, it’s unlikely to address them all instantly, and some older models may not be covered at all.

Google will keep Nexus hardware updated

That’s certainly the way it works for Google, which has also announced something similar, in light of the Stagefright security problem. Google will send out a monthly security update to Nexus phones and other hardware up to three years old. Its first such software update, which addresses Stagefright, is available for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, and the Nexus Player.

LG’s also ready to deliver monthly security updates

LG has already started update Android devices vulnerable to Stagefright, and has also issued a statement on its future intentions, saying: “As an additional step, LG will be providing security updates on a monthly basis which carriers will then be able to make available to customers immediately. We believe these important steps will demonstrate to LG customers that security is our highest priority.

Sony will work on a case-by-case basis

Sony doesn’t want to commit itself to monthly Android security updates, and instead is happy to address them on a case-by-case basis, at least that’s the impression from its statement provided to Digital Trends. It reads: “Sony Mobile takes the security and privacy of customer data very seriously. We work continuously with our smartphones, tablets and wearable devices to ensure they provide safe and secure experiences for users and will look to mitigate and eliminate any specific security issues where necessary.”

It suggests any Sony smartphone or tablet owners contact their “local customer care center,” if they have any concerns.

ZTE’s fixing Stagefright

We contacted ZTE to find out what its plans are regarding Stagefright and future Android security updates. It’s in the process of working with Google on securing its Android hardware against the bug, but doesn’t have any announcements to make regarding the frequency of any ongoing security updates.

Whether other companies such as HTC, or Huawei commit to long-term security updates remains to be seen. We’ve made contact with several on the subject, and will keep you updated here on any further news.

If you’re concerned about the Stagefright bug affecting your phone, you can read our in-depth guide to it here.

Previous updates:

Updated on 08-06-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in comment from Sony

Computing

Smishing sounds funny, but it’s a serious threat to your phone’s security

We all know phishing is a huge security problem, but most people still believe it’s a problem limited to email. According to new reports, however, phishing scams are attempting to exploit your trust in text messages.
Smart Home

Best Buy offers a slew of Black Friday deals for smart home, security, and Wi-Fi

Building the excitement for Black Friday, Best Buy released its first round of deals for smart home, security, and Wi-Fi devices from Amazon, Ring, Lenovo, Philips Hue, Arlo, and Netgear. The deals in the first round expire November 11.
Product Review

August and Yale’s first lock brings looks, smarts, and a split personality

The first fruit of Yale’s acquisition of August, this enhanced Assure Lock SL Touchscreen Deadbolt is a definite upgrade on last year’s model, adding style and versatility to home security. Read our full review to learn more.
Deals

Save $210 on this Arlo Pro indoor and outdoor security system

If you are looking for a do-it-yourself security system for your home, the products made by Arlo Pro are among our recommended favorites. Walmart is currently selling the first-generation Arlo Pro security camera system by Netgear.
Mobile

The world’s first smartglasses showrooms open in Brooklyn and Toronto

Canadian startup North is hoping smartglasses will be the next big wearable. After announcing its new Focals smartglasses in October, the company opened product showrooms in Brooklyn and Toronto.
Deals

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.
Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Mobile

Master your new Nokia 7.1 with our favorite tips and tricks

At $350, the Nokia 7.1 is a nearly perfect budget phone. It has a gorgeous body, good hardware, and a capable camera. Recently purchased the Nokia 7.1? Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to get you started with your new phone.
Mobile

Samsung Galaxy S10 could nix the notch in favor of a "punch hole" cutout

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Wearables

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.
Mobile

Android will finally get a faster sharing menu, but it might take a while

The Android sharing menu has gotten a whole lot better over the years, but it's also gotten slower. Thankfully, however, it seems as though Google is working on a better, faster sharing menu but, unfortunately, it may take a while.
Mobile

The best iPhone XR cases to keep your phone shiny and new

Apple's new iPhone range is the toast of 2018, with beautiful style and more power than you can shake a stick at. But beauty can often be fragile -- keep the damage to a minimum with the best iPhone XR cases.
Computing

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement, or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.
Mobile

The 100 best Android apps turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

Choosing which apps to download is tricky, especially given how enormous and cluttered the Google Play Store has become. We rounded up 100 of the best Android apps and divided them neatly, with each suited for a different occasion.