Android Phones Vulnerable to Lock Screen Bypass Exploit

Android Phones Vulnerable to Lock Screen Bypass ExploitShutterstock

A recently discovered security vulnerability lets hackers bypass lock screen protections on certain Android phones. Read on for all the important info and instructions on how to secure your device.

New Android Vulnerability Explained

The new vulnerability was discovered by ethical hacker David Schütz. The alarmingly simple exploit takes under two minutes to perform and allows hackers to bypass any lock screen protections, including a password, PIN, or fingerprint scanner.

Although physical access is required, all it takes is a quick SIM swap and the execution of a few basic steps and a hacker can have complete access to a device and all the personal information stored on it. Below is a video showing how quickly the exploit can be performed.

A complete explanation of how a would-be hacker can perform the exploit, as well as the story of how it was discovered, can be found on David Schütz’s blog.

Which Phones Are at Risk?

The vulnerability is known to affect Google Pixel 5 and Google Pixel 6 phones. Although because the security issue is within Android itself, other phones running Android may be at risk, too.

However, it is important to note that certain phones running custom versions of Android — such as those released by Samsung — have been proven to be immune to the exploit. With that said, if only for peace of mind rather than nothing else, it is recommended that you follow the instructions in the next section.

How to Protect Your Phone

Google has already fixed this lock screen bypass exploit, so to ensure your device is up to date and fully protected, you should install the latest software and security updates. Below are instructions on how to do so.

Note: Depending on which version of Android you have and whether it has been customized by your phone’s manufacturer, the instructions for your phone may differ slightly.

How to check for software updates:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap System > System update.
  3. If an update is available, follow any onscreen instructions to install it.

How to check for security updates:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap Security.
  3. Tap Google Security checkup.
  4. If an update is available, follow any onscreen instructions to install it.

The Best Protection for Your Android Device

After following the instructions above, your phone will be secured against this most recent vulnerability, but it’s only a matter of time before a new one is discovered! Trend Micro™ Mobile Security for Android can protect you from unwanted access to your device, malicious apps, ransomware, dangerous websites, unsafe Wi-Fi networks, and more. Better yet, you can download it for FREE today!

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