Google Confirms Android Camera Security Threat Affecting Millions

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A serious vulnerability affecting Google and Samsung smartphones, with the potential to impact hundreds of millions of Android users, was recently confirmed, according to a story in Forbes.

Researchers discovered that hackers could take control of a smartphone user’s camera apps and remotely take photos, record video, spy on your conversations by recording them as a person lifts the phone to their ear and identify their location.

“When the Checkmarx security research team began researching the Google Camera app, on the Pixel 2XL and Pixel 3 smartphones that were to hand, they found several vulnerabilities,” Forbes reported.

“Our team found a way of manipulating specific actions and intents,” Erez Yalon, director of security research at Checkmarx said, “making it possible for any application, without specific permissions, to control the Google Camera app. This same technique also applied to Samsung’s Camera app.”

The implications of these vulnerabilities, given the footprint of Google and Samsung smartphones alone, presents a significant threat to hundreds of millions of users.

Checkmarx explained its findings in detail in a post titled “How Attackers Could Hijack Your Android Camera to Spy on You.”

Some media reported that Google said it has fixed the problem–but not for everyone.

“Researchers have disclosed a high-severity issue that could allow attackers to hijack the Google Camera App, the built-in smartphone camera for Android phones,” reported threatpost.

“The issue was fixed for Google-manufactured phones in July – but Google said patches are still rolling out to smartphones in the broader Android ecosystem, including to Samsung phones,” reported threatpost.

In a story published in The Crime Report, a new report was revealed in Journal of Cyber Policy saying that our cellphones, whether they are iPhones or Galaxy S9s,  are listening to us and transmitting the data they hear. So are objects that include the Apple Watch, the Samsung Smart TV 9000, the Samsung Smart Dishwasher, and even the My Friend Cayla Doll.

All of these devices, analyzed in the report, are putting Americans under intense surveillance through the use of microphones, cameras, barometers, proximity sensors, ambient sensors, thermometers, Bluetooth, GPS location, and even heart rate monitors, concluded the report “Enabling Mass Surveillance: Data Aggregation in the Age of Big Data and the Internet of Things.”

The report was written by Marie-Helen Maras and Adam Scott Wandt, professors at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

2 thoughts on “Google Confirms Android Camera Security Threat Affecting Millions

  1. this is true for me..i occasionaly found in my photo gallery pictures taken without my permission.. I wonder how it comes up in my gallery even though i didnt take it.. i think the chinese are the one behind this spying using android devices all over the world. only solution i did is cover up my phone camera lenses with electrical tape.. this is my phone brand: Meizu C9.. just beware of chinese products specially your android phone,i think they use it as a spy device to spy in your country.. just a thought!

  2. Wow this happened to me back in September on my Pixel 3. They were able to control my screen, open my camera, open messages and type to me, and recorded my call to Google pixel when I was begging for help. They locked me completely out of my phone, emails,and social media accounts. They changed my number and passcode to my wireless account and tried ordering 3 devices, and it took me a week to get someone to help me figure out how to fix everything. In the end they made me open up a new account with a new number but would not replace the phone not would Google. I made a whole new email after the factory reset and I spent the first week pretty must contacting my banks, and credit cards, filling out an IC3, and trying to get my emails back. I started noticing my phone was behaving weirdly again. I called Pixel and they insisted it was impossible but sure enough it happened again. After all this time I thought I was the only one, thank you.

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