There’s a security scare out there for Android users again, this time it’s being referred to as the Stagefright exploit. Just to clear something up, Stagefright is part of the Android Framework and exists as a Multimedia library; so the name isn’t quite right for mind, we’re talking about a bug in Stagefright that can be used for malicious purposes and there’s a very easy way to minimise your risk. Simply turn off automatic downloading of MMS to your device and don’t accept MMS from anyone that you don’t know and trust.
If you’re a Chomp SMS or Textra user (they’re released by the same developer) you’re apparently getting protection from the Stagefright bug with the latest update as noted on the Play Store page for the app
- IMPORTANT: Protection from Stagefright! Video messages can contain an exploit called Stagefright that can harm your phone. chompSMS protects by ensuring new video messages can not automatically run the exploit.
- More Material Design improvements.
- Bug fixes.
- Change Log @ http://inapp.chompsms.com/changelog
They have attempted to explain their protection on the company’s Textra knowledge base:
The Stagefright exploit can occur when any SMS / MMS app creates the MMS video thumbnail that it shows in the conversation bubble or notification or if a user presses the play button on the video or saves to Gallery.
We have provided a solution for ‘StageFright’ in Release 3.1 of Textra out now.
which does pose the question…
What protection does this offer over simply not automatically downloading MMS to your device?
Frankly; if you’re conscious of what is coming in to your phone there probably isn’t any advantage to this over disabling automatic download of MMS. The difference on the Textra and Chomp apps is that “Automatic Download of MMS” is called “Stagefright Protection” and when you do trigger the download of a Multimedia message that could potentially harm your device, you’re cautioned on screen about the dangers.
If you’re truly concerned about the dangers of Stagefright it may be worth looking at Chomp or Textra as a potential replacement of your messaging app, but in reality disabling MMS download and being aware of what you’re downloading offers the same protection levels.
Are you concerned about Stagefright, or do you believe its another storm in a teacup security scare?