Samsung’s Galaxy S7 smartphones contain a microchip security flaw, uncovered earlier this year, that has put tens of millions of devices at risk to hackers looking to spy on their users, researchers told Reuters.
The Galaxy S7 and other smartphones made by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd were previously thought to be immune to a security vulnerability known as Meltdown, which researchers said earlier this year was present in most of the world’s PCs, smartphones and other computing devices.
But researchers at the Austrian Graz Technical University have told Reuters they have found a way to exploit meltdown fragility to attack Galaxy S7 mobile phones.
Samsung said it started security patches to protect its Galaxy S7 mobile phones from Meltdown in January, followed by another software update in July.
“Samsung security is getting very serious, and our products and services are kept on the front line with security,” the company said.
The Graz team is planning to publish findings on the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Thursday. Investigator Michael Schwarz is reviewing Meltdown’s influence on other smartphone models and models in Reuters, and expects more sensitive devices to emerge in the near future.
“More phones we do not know are affected,” he said. “There are hundreds of million phones that are affected by Meltdown and may have been strained because the vendors themselves do not know.”
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the Galaxy S7 is used by about 30 million people worldwide. Since Samsung was launched into the S7 2016 market, the flagship has released two new versions of its Galaxy series smartphones.
A Samsung spokesman has not commented on how many Galaxy S7 smartphones have been sold. Meltdown was exploited to attack an S7 phone, and no other known cases of other Samsung phones known to be vulnerable were reported.
A second security breach, known as Meltdown and Specter, can be used to uncover the content of a central processing unit of a computer device – designed as a secure internal shelter – to bypass hardware barriers or tricking applications to give confidential information such as passwords or banking details.
There is no known piracy case that exploits security in a real-world attack, but the disclosure of common hardware flaws has forced the computer industry to blend into the chipboard, including chipmakers and device manufacturers.
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