After initial rounds of rumours, Mediatek has officially confirmed the presence of a bug in their recent generation of chipsets which have put various smartphones at risk.
The vulnerability was originally reported by security researcher Justin Case earlier this month. Apparently the vulnerability is caused by the presence of a bug that could possibly allow an attacker to remotely enable root access in the affected device.
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By rooting your device the attacker can access various data including those which are normally protected by the smartphone manufacturer themselves. Chase further mentioned that the attack can easily brick a phone or spy on a user remotely utilizing this vulnerability.
Today Mediatek has officially come up with an explanation to this issue, stating that not at all but a indeed a small portion of their user base is under this vulnerability threat. Interestingly the Chinese chipset vendor claims that only device running Android KitKat are under the risk of being a subject to this recently discovered hack.
So Mediatek broke basic security features to have this backdoor work. Readonly properties are NOT read only! pic.twitter.com/pEjtMNpo9v— Justin Case (@jcase) January 13, 2016
Officials from the company state that the vulnerability originates from a debug feature that come with the chipset for testing telecommunication inter-operability in China. In fact the MediaTek spokesperson's claims that it's a responsibility of the smartphone manufacturer to disable the debug feature before shipping their products. In fact most of their partners disable it before shipping their products. However a few manufacturer didn't disable this feature, thereby resulting in this potential security issue.
While Mediatek weren't ready to divulge further information in this regard, the official from the company stated that they have alerted all the manufacturers about the feature and its possible risk.