This is likely the biggest smartphone flaw ever discovered. It affects an estimated 950 million phones worldwide — about 95% of the Androids in use today.
The problem stems from the way Android phones analyze incoming text messages.
Even before you open a message, the phone automatically processes incoming media files — including pictures, audio or video. That means a malware-laden file can start infecting the phone as soon as it’s received, according Zimperium, a cybersecurity company that specializes in mobile devices.
If this sounds familiar, that’s because this Android flaw is somewhat like the recent Apple text hack.
But in that case, a text message with just the right characters could freeze an iPhone or force it to restart. This Android flaw is worse, because a hacker could gain complete control of the phone: wiping the device, accessing apps or secretly turning on the camera.