In July 2015, mobile-security firm Zimperium declared it discovered a high-severity vulnerability inside the Android operating system. The critical flaw exists in a core component named “StageFright,” a native media playback library Android uses to record, process and play multimedia files.
Further details were disclosed publicly at the BlackHat conference in August 2015 — but not before the news revealed billions of Android devices could potentially be compromised without users knowing. Researchers stated StageFright weaknesses are all “remote execution” bugs, enabling malicious hackers to infiltrate Android devices and exfiltrate personal data.
How does stagefright work?
StageFright can use videos sent through MMS as a source of attack via the libStageFright mechanism, which assists Android in processing video files. Several text messaging applications — including google Hangouts — automatically process videos so the infected video is ready for users to watch as soon as they open the message. For this reason, the attack could take place without users even finding out.
It seems laborious, but it works within a matter of seconds: a typical StageFright attack breaks into a device within 20 seconds. And while it’s most effective on Android devices running stock firmware like Nexus 5, it’s known to function on