The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are a hit, and when they were released Google claimed that they’re as secure as the ultra-secure Apple iPhone. Apparently, the security on the Pixel may not be as high-level as previously thought — it took a group of hackers only 30 seconds to hack into the device.
The hackers work for Chinese security firm Qihoo 360, and they were basically able to gain full and complete remote access to the phone, including personal information like contacts, call logs, and messages. Thankfully, the hackers themselves are white hat — meaning that they hacked the device to shine a light on the exploit so that Google could fix it, rather than for any malicious purpose. The hack took place at the Seoul, South Korea, PwnFest.
Pixel and Pixel XL owners don’t have to worry just yet — the exploit was patched by Google within 24 hours of it being discovered. Qihoo 360 also got themselves a pretty hefty prize as a result of finding the issue — a cool $120,000, in fact. They also got another $120,000 for finding an exploit in Adobe flash in under four seconds, while another hacking group snagged $80,000 for finding an exploit in Apple’s Safari browser in less than 20 seconds.
Just because the hackers found the exploit using a Pixel phone, that doesn’t mean that the Pixel is the only phone with the issue. While Google managed to send out a patch relatively quickly, which is great for Pixel customers, it will be up to other device manufacturer to release patches to their phones. Not only that, but some wireless carriers will also need to release patches of their own. In other words, if the exploit is Android-wide, it’s likely it will never be patched on every device.
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