Android users had a rude awakening earlier this week when news of the Stagefright vulnerability spread like wildfire across online news outlets. And unlike previous hoaxes or paranoid false alarms, this one is actually legit and should cause worry for those running Froyo up to Lollipop, which is basically 95% of devices now. But while Google still hasn’t given a patch fix to carriers and OEMs, we need to start protecting our devices from this devious hack. Lookout has one easy suggestion: disable your device’s MMS auto-fetch.
The trick thing about this Stagefright vulnerability is that you don’t even have to open the MMS that has the virus. Android’s system is that when you receive an MMS, like a video or picture, it automatically processes the incoming message even before you open it. Hence, the malware will be able to enter your device and access your apps and information, turn on your camera, and even wipe your device clean. So while we’re still waiting for that security fix that Google promised us, Lookout has suggested that we disable the MMS auto-fetch settings on our smartphones.
If you use your device’s native messaging app, which may be Messages, Messaging, or Messenger, as well as Hangouts, then you will be able to do so. You can look at the walk-through instructions they provided in the source link below, and it looks pretty easy to follow. If you’re using a different default SMS app, try to research if it can disable the auto-fetch settings. If not, you might consider switching to one that can do that, just to be safe. Also, refrain from viewing videos from dubious websites as well.
But this may just be a temporary fix and that security patch from Google should be the best solution. However, this will probably take weeks as they would have to course it through their various partners. If you’re a Nexus user, then you’re lucky as you’ll get it directly.