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Android alert! 32 security bugs you need to fix now

Android alert! 32 security bugs you need to fix now
PHOTO COURTESY OF TECHREPUBLIC

Do you have an Android smartphone or tablet? Believe it or not, at least 1.4 billion Android gadgets are being used right now around the world by people like you. If you don't have an iPhone, you most likely have an Android.

Here's why that's important. Android is from Google, a name you trust, right? Don't trust a product just because it has a familiar name.

Google proved that in a slew of security blunders last year. If you hadn't heard, Google's Android had so many severe security problems, notably with the Stagefright flaw, that users demanded that Google and the manufacturers who make Android phones issue regular monthly security fixes.

They've been doing that, and the latest Android Security Bulletin includes 32 patches for security holes, including two critical issues that need to be fixed right now. Note: Keep reading for tips on what you must do.

The two critical patches affect the same Mediaserver multimedia library with the Stagefright flaw that allowed hackers to insert malicious code onto nearly 1 billion Android smartphones and tablets last year.

"Mediaserver has been a front-and-center security issue since last summer's Stagefright disclosures," according to the Threat Post blog. "The software serves up media content and interacts with the kernel, making it a tasty target for attacks. Researchers, meanwhile, have called it an 'over-privileged application since it's granted system access on some devices."

Of the 32 security flaws, six are critical fixes. In other words, they pose such a great danger to you that you must fix it right now. The worst of these is a critical flaw in Mediaserver. If it's not patched, this bug could let hackers remotely access your smartphone or tablet through email, text messages or a website.

Here's what to do: If you have one of Google's Nexus phones, you don't have to do anything. Google sent out an over-the-air update to fix all 32 issues. If you don't have a Nexus phone, Google sent third-party manufacturers the patches a few weeks ago. And the coding for the patches is being made widely available today on the Android Open Source Project repository.

When your smartphone maker issues a security update, accept it. As Google writes in the Android Security Bulletin: "We encourage all customers to accept these updates to their devices."

To see the complete list of security patches, see the May 2016 Android Security Bulletin here.

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Source: Threat Post
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