MediaTek chipsets vulnerable due to leak: eavesdropping made possible

A vulnerable leak in MediaTek’s chipsets allows malicious people to get started with eavesdropping on smartphones. Although the problems would have been solved by now, this does not automatically mean that the danger has passed for everyone.

Vulnerability at MediaTek

Research agency Check Point Research has discovered several vulnerabilities in MediaTek’s processors. These are weak spots in the chips that could hide malicious codes and listen in on conversations. The spots were found in the audio processors. Launching an unauthorized app allowed the vulnerability to be exploited. Commands could be given to the sound card, which in turn could have the effect of listening in on conversations without users being aware of this. A malicious person could also make his move in other ways, the researchers report.

In October, the problem was solved by MediaTek, following the findings of the researchers. This does not automatically solve the problems immediately. Manufacturers are not all equally strict and fast in releasing updates; and only with an update the leak is fixed. Together with Qualcomm, MediaTek is the largest chip manufacturer for smartphones. 37 percent of smartphones are equipped with a chipset from the Taiwanese manufacturer. According to Check Point Research, problems can be avoided by not rooting the device, checking for and installing updates, and using antivirus.

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