Experts advise on how to protect against potential Android hack

Sherice Torres, director of marketing for Android Pay, shows the icon for the Android Pay app on a phone at Google I/O 2015 in San Francisco, Thursday, May 28, 2015. Google's next version of its Android operating system will boast new ways to fetch information, pay merchants and protect privacy on mobile devices as the Internet company duels with Apple in the quest to make their technology indispensable. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — If you’re an Android user, you are likely among the billions at risk of being hacked. The threat could allow hackers to take full control of your device.

It can all start with a simple text. You don’t even have to open the message for the malware to download.

“All your private data are there. Your moments. Your family. It’s tough to know that somebody could just get it,” said Doneaka Brooks, who is concerned about cell phone security.

A bug would allow hackers to wipe a device clean, access apps, pictures and video, and even turn the camera on without you knowing.

“It’s scary. Yeah, absolutely, ” Brooks added.

“My company tests software for a living and it’s a big concern,” said Gerry Bailey.

It’s being described as one of the biggest smartphone flaws ever discovered. Zimperium is the company that identified the problem back in April and even provided a fix. Google has said it sent a fix to its partners and assured that Android has ways of limiting hackers’ access. However, hackers have been able to access systems in the past.

Experts say it affects up to 95 percent of Android users.

“The majority of Android devices, if Google does not push out an update for all of them, are going to remain vulnerable,” said Tyler Troutt, Senior Repair Tech at Fix My Cell.

Trout says there are 3 main things Droid users can do to protect themselves:

  1. Do not visit websites that you don’t trust or know anything about.
  2. Do not open text messages, especially multi-media messages, when you don’t know the sender.
  3. Stop using Hangouts, which is a messaging application, until a fix is released.

“You don’t even have to open it and view the file. It just has to come into your phone. The way that the exploit works with Hangouts, Hangouts will make a little thumbnail of what just got received and at that point you’re exploited,” said Troutt.

Some are now taking matters into their own hands.

“Even my computer, where the circle is, it’s covered. My son’s as well. It’s covered with paper and tape,” said Brooks.

Carol Bailey added, “We just have to be very careful about all of our technology.”

All Androids made within the last five years are at risk. The iPhone is not included in this threat.

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