Unpatched Samsung Chipset Vulnerabilities Open Android Users to RCE Attacks

A newly disclosed set of vulnerabilities in Samsung chipsets has exposed millions of Android mobile phone users to potential remote code execution (RCE) attacks, until their individual device vendors make patches available for the flaws.

Until then, the best bet for users who want to protect against the threat is to turn off Wi-Fi calling and Voice-over-LTE settings on their devices, according to the researchers from Google’s Project Zero who discovered the flaws.

In a blog post last week, the researchers said they had reported as many as 18 vulnerabilities to Samsung in the company’s Exynos chipsets, used in multiple mobile phone models from Samsung, Vivo, and Google. Affected devices include Samsung Galaxy S22, M33, M13, M12, A71, and A53, Vivo S16, S15, S6, X70, X60, and X30, and Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series of devices.

Android Users Face Complete Compromise

Four of the vulnerabilities in the Samsung Exynos chipsets give attackers a way to completely compromise an affected device, with no user interaction needed and requiring the attacker to only know the victim’s phone number, Project Zero threat researcher Tim Willis wrote.

“Tests conducted by Project Zero confirm that those four vulnerabilities [CVE-2023-24033, CVE-2023-26496, CVE-2023-26497, and CVE-2023-26498] allow an attacker to remotely compromise a phone at the baseband level,” Willis said. “With limited additional research and development, we believe that skilled attackers would be able to quickly create an operational exploit to compromise affected devices silently and remotely.” 

The security researcher identified the remaining 14 vulnerabilities in Samsung Exynos chipsets as being somewhat less severe.

In an emailed statement, Samsung said it had identified six of the vulnerabilities as potentially impacting some of its Galaxy devices. The company described the six flaws as not being “severe” and said it had released patches for five of them in a March security update. Samsung will release a patch for the sixth flaw in April. The company did not respond to a Dark Reading request seeking information on whether it will release patches for all 18 vulnerabilities that Google disclosed. It’s also unclear whether, or…