Qualcomm chips are present in more than 40 percent of the smartphones, and those chips have a major vulnerability that enables hackers to gain access to the smartphone. This is a significant threat to Android phones (Apple uses other chips) all over the world. Hackers can spy on smartphone users and can make the phone unresponsive.
The Qualcomm Digital Signal Processor contains a lot of vulnerable code that hackers can exploit. The chip manufacturer already created a patch to fix the vulnerabilities but needs the cooperation of smartphone manufacturers to do so. In the end, these manufacturers have to implement the solutions, and as long as this has not happened, the threat remains, according to Check Point’s researchers.
Digital Signal Processor
The problem is caused by vulnerabilities in the Digital Signal Processor. As the name suggests, this is the chip that processes signals such as video and speech into digital data. Thus, this processor has to make calculations at extremely high speeds. According to Check Point, the DSP chip is a type of black box that works very well on its own, and only the manufacturer knows how it works.
Smartphones from Samsung, OnePlus, Xiaomi and Google, and others, contain these chips. Check Point was able to find more than 400 vulnerabilities on these chips. Hackers can abuse these vulnerabilities in three ways. The first is espionage; hackers can leak all the data on your phone without you noticing it. This could be videos, company records, phone calls, and location data. In addition, your microphone can be turned on and bugged without you knowing it.
Hackers can also disable the smartphone in its entirety. As a result, the information on your phone is no longer available. In other words, if you haven’t made a backup of your photos and videos, all of the data will be lost. In addition, you will have to buy a new phone, which has financial consequences. Finally, there is the possibility that hackers install malware. Again, you won’t notice that something is happening in the background. This malware can have a major impact on other apps and processes on your smartphone.
It would be beneficial for the safety of Android phones if manufacturers implemented the patches from Qualcomm as soon as possible. Millions of phones are now at risk, according to Check Point. The company does not go into the technical details of the vulnerabilities as long as there are still phones at risk.