Google Nexus Smartphones Vulnerable to Attack via Flash SMS

By Vivek

Recently, Google has been reportedly said to be facing a bit of a problem regarding their Nexus smartphone line up. The issue that has been coming into highlight suggests that the device would forcefully restart, lock or fail to connect to the Internet because of a large number of Flash SMS messages are sent to them.

Google Nexus Smartphones Vulnerable to Attack via Flash SMS


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Thus it is now being reported that all Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 devices that run Android 4.0 contain the same flaw.

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These Flash SMS messages which cause the problem in the smartphones are also known as Class 0 SMS. When these type of messages are received the screens immediately starts to dim around the text. According to online reports, the messages are part of the GSM messaging infrastructure and are often used for sending emergency messages.

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Since the messages are not saved in the phone by default, users can select to read or dismiss them. While, if a phone receives a certain number of these messages, around 30 in this case, the phone will restart itself.

According to other reports, if a PIN is required to unlock the SIM card, the device will not connect to the Internet after the reboot. Also the phone can lose mobile networks and the messaging app can crash.

Reportedly, Bogdan Alecu, a Romanian independent security researcher who also works as a system administrator at the Dutch IT firm Levi9 discovered the issue a and discussed it in a panel (.PDF) on Friday at DefCamp, a security conference in Bucharest, Romania.


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The problem was reported by Alecu a year ago, but Google seems to have ignored it. However, now the company is reported to be working to fix it.

"We thank him [Alecu] for bringing the possible issue to our attention and we are investigating," a Google representative told PC Magazine via email.


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