The U.S. government could be violating your privacy. We recently told you about a massive set of documents released by WikiLeaks that expose the hacking capabilities of the CIA. These documents illustrate several hacking tools and exploits that can be used to spy on us.
The files contain a collection of exploits that target vulnerabilities in both Apple iOS and Android gadgets. These vulnerabilities can be used to steal your credentials, or even turn your smart TV into a listening device so that your personal conversations can be recorded. Now, Google is trying to reassure its customers that these flaws have been patched, but have they?
Google's response to CIA's hacks
Some of the documents released recently by WikiLeaks claim that the CIA is creating malware used to infect certain gadgets. The malware is used to control and collect data from products that are running Android operating systems.
Vulnerabilities found in the operating system are used to hack into the gadget. Google released a statement claiming that many of the flaws in Chrome and Android have been patched. Here is Google's statement:
"As we've reviewed the documents, we're confident that security updates and protections in both Chrome and Android already shield users from many of these alleged vulnerabilities. Our analysis is ongoing and we will implement any further necessary protections. We've always made security a top priority and we continue to invest in our defenses."
That's great news, but there is one major problem. Not all Android gadgets receive current security updates.
Android gadgets receive security updates for three years from its release date, or 18 months after the gadget leaves the Google store, whichever is longer. This means millions of users who are hanging on to their older devices haven't received the necessary patches to fix these flaws. If you are concerned about your privacy it might be time to upgrade to a new gadget.
If you do have a newer Android gadget that still receives security patches, you need to make sure it's been updated. Here are the steps for that:
Go to Settings >> scroll down, click on 'About Phone' or 'About Tablet'. (If you have a tabbed settings menu then this will appear in the 'general' section.) >> click software update >> click install now, install overnight, or later.