Some Android users should turn off Wi-Fi calling due to security concerns, Google team warns
(NEXSTAR) – If you have an Android phone, you may want to stop using Wi-Fi calling, a team of security experts with Google warns.
Earlier this month, Google’s Project Zero team confirmed it had found multiple vulnerabilities in Exynos chipsets, made by Samsung. Of those, four can allow “Internet-to-baseband remote code execution,” giving hackers the ability to remotely compromise certain Android phones.
The hacker would only need to know your phone number, explained Project Zero, a team of security researchers that study zero-day vulnerabilities, which are flaws in software that are known but don’t yet have a patch to protect against them.
“With limited additional research and development, we believe that skilled attackers would be able to quickly create an operational exploit to compromise affected devices silently and remotely.”
The remaining 14 vulnerabilities found by Project Zero were determined to be “not as severe.”
Devices that may be affected because they use the Exynos chipset, according to Samsung, include:
- 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 vehicles may also be impacted if they use an Exynos Auto T5123 chipset. Pixel phones already received a fix for the vulnerabilities, according to Google, while Samsung lists that an update was released for some of the vulnerabilities.
If you haven’t had an update on your phone recently, you can also turn off Wi-Fi calling and Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) to protect from hackers.
Wi-Fi calling allows you to make calls and send text messages when you aren’t connected to cell service while VoLTE uses your LTE network instead of the usual network.
For Samsung users, Wi-Fi calling settings can be found under Settings, then Connections, then Wi-Fi Calling. You’ll find a toggle that, if it isn’t already, can be switched off. Google Pixel users can find their Wi-Fi calling option by going to Settings, then Network & Internet, then Mobile Network, and then tapping Advanced.
VoLTE is automatically on for many devices. It can be found under Settings, then Connections, and then Mobile Network on most Samsung and Google phones.
The Project Zero team also recommends updating your phone as soon as new patches and software are made available.
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