By now we’ve all heard of the Stagefright bug and Google’s monthly security updates initiative. What’s not so well-known is that the Stagefright exploit had been largely unreliable in its implementation, leaving no real cause for alarm – until recently that is.
Security researchers at NorthBit have apparently developed a reliable method of delivery for the exploit and can do so much faster than you’d expect.
Dubbed “Metaphor”, the new method probes your devices security defenses before actually attacking. Using specially crafted MPEG-4 videos, the exploit crashes Android’s media server then sends device information back to the attack server before sending the next file that gathers more sensitive data and alerts the server that the final delivery, the actual exploit, is safe to send.
This can all take place is as little as 20 (yes, twenty!) seconds.
This is not immediate cause for concern, though, as the exploit has not been seen in the wild, and users who have taken updates since October 1, 2015 are unaffected by this method. Rooted users, especially those using AOSP or Cyanogen sourced ROMs are likely unaffected as well. So, if you’ve wanted to try something new, or are worried about being a victim, this is justification for flashing that new ROM, so enjoy!