Android vulnerability lets hackers wreak havoc using, er, a PNG file

Hackers can hack an Android smartphone just by looking at a PNG image

Since Google hasn't released the technical details of the flaw, so it won't be easy for anyone to abuse this hacking method. And as soon as users open the image, it triggers the exploit and allows bad actors to remotely execute arbitrary code and wreak havoc.

The security vulnerability update is quite vague as it doesn't share anything about what precautions need to be taken or how a hacker can send simple looking PNG files to victims on e-mail, a program, or social websites that in reality trigger an Android smartphone to be compromised.

While there isn't a record of the attack actually happening in the wild, the vulnerability in Android versions 7.0 to 9.0 would give hackers "privileged access" to run malicious code on any Android device that had opened a malicious PNG image file.

IT'S NO SECRET that Android isn't always the most secure mobile operating system, but getting potentially pwned by a PNG - even for Google's mobile OS - is a bit much.

The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability in Framework that could allow a remote attacker using a specially crafted PNG file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.

Google recently began the rollout of the February 2019 Android security update that addresses a total of 42 issues and fixes vulnerabilities of varying severity levels.

The flaw found in Android specifically deals with three vulnerabilities.

In effect, this means that Android users, those who are not using Google-branded devices, may have to wait months to receive a security update and that's presuming they receive one at all. The search giant also said that it has alerted its Android partners of all vulnerabilities a month before publication, adding that "source code patches for these issues will be released to the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) repository in the next 48 hours". Well, the February 2019 Android security update has only been released for the Pixel smartphones, the Pixel C tablet, and the Essential Phone.

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