Google security experts say that if you have an Android phone, you might not want to use Wi-Fi calling anymore.
This month, Google’s Project Zero team said that it had found multiple security flaws in Samsung’s Exynos chipsets. Four of these can allow “Internet-to-baseband remote code execution,” which lets hackers take over certain Android phones from afar.
The hacker would only need to know your phone number, according to Project Zero, a group of security researchers who study “zero-day vulnerabilities,” which are flaws in software that are known but don’t have a fix yet.
“We think that skilled attackers could quickly make an operational exploit that would let them take over affected devices silently and remotely with little more research and development.”
The other 14 vulnerabilities that Project Zero found were deemed “not as bad.”
Samsung says that the following devices could be affected because they use the Exynos chipset:
- Samsung Galaxy S22, M33, M12, M13, A71, A53, A33, A21s, A13, A12, and A04 models
- Vivo S16, S15, S6, X70, X60, and X30 series
- Google Pixel 6 and 7
Some cars that use an Exynos Auto T5123 chipset could also be affected. Google says that the flaws have already been fixed on Pixel phones, and Samsung says that some of the flaws have been fixed with an update.
If you haven’t updated your phone in a while, you can also protect yourself from hackers by turning off Wi-Fi calling and Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE).
Wi-Fi calling lets you make calls and send text messages even when you don’t have cell service. VoLTE, on the other hand, uses your LTE network instead of the regular network.
Users of Samsung phones can find the settings for Wi-Fi calling by going to Settings, then Connections, and then Wi-Fi Calling. You’ll find a switch that can be turned off, if it isn’t already. Users of the Google Pixel user can find the Wi-Fi calling option by going to Settings, then Network & Internet, then Mobile Network, and then tapping Advanced.
VoLTE is turned on by default for a lot of devices. Most Samsung and Google phones have it under Settings, then Connections, then Mobile Network.
The Project Zero team also says that you should update your phone whenever new patches and software come out.