Odds are if you own a cellphone, your service provider is one of Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile or Sprint. The four major carriers in the United States, they combine to have more than roughly 421 million subscribers and are generally viewed as the premier options.
Those reputations have been earned, of course, with them offering the most consistent and high-quality plans to go along with the best phones the industry has to offer. Sure they can be a bit pricey, but you get what you pay for.
All four providers offer different plans and even coverage maps, but they do have at least one thing in common. Unfortunately, it’s not anything good.
They are all vulnerable
According to the Department of Homeland Security, people using any of the four major carriers may unknowingly be exposing their sensitive data to hackers. That’s right — DHS-funded researchers found vulnerabilities in devices used by each of them.
The issues are built into the phones by the manufacturers, with them creating a loophole that could lead to the exploitation of data, emails and text messages. Vincent Sritapan, who is a program manager for DHS’ science and technology directorate, told Fifth Domain that the flaw could even allow someone to “escalate privileges and take over the device.”
Now, DHS has yet to specify which manufacturers are caught up in this, though it appears millions of U.S. phone users are at risk. That could include government officials, and most likely doesn’t just involve the United States.
Making matters worse is the fact that anyone with an affected phone would likely have no idea. The flaw is buried deep inside the phone’s operating system, making it rather difficult to tell whether or not it has been exploited.
Supposedly the issue was brought up in February, which is when Kryptowire — the security firm that discovered it — alerted them. More details are expected to be released in the near future so you will want to keep an eye on this story.
After all, from what we know it would be a good idea to figure out just how widespread this problem really may be. Not only that, but also which phones are impacted.