Some Android Lollipop lock screens can be hacked through
Lollipop’s troubles have been made very visible by the tech media to the national media. In the second case, it was with Android 5.0’s Stagefright vulnerabilities that led to the pouring of vows to step up security updates. And while the move to Marshmallow is ongoing and might bring a whole new slew of scrutinizing eyes to the Android platform, some phones will have the dubious honor of carrying Lollipop as their mature version of the OS. That makes this security hole a must to watch for.
Phones running 5.0-5.1.1 which have not been recently updated with the “LMY48M” 5.1.1 revision and have a password-secured lock screen are at risk for a trick which obviates the password. The process takes about 10 minutes and undivided attention on the phone:
- The hacker turns on the phone and prompts the emergency call dialer.
- The hacker then prepares an extremely large string of characters which will then be copied to the Android clipboard.
- The hacker then enters the camera from the lock screen and accesses the options menu which triggers a password prompt (supposedly, you can also enter into the gallery which will do the same).
- The hacker pastes and enters the string of characters.
And with some chugging, the phone unlocks, providing the hacker to all the data inside of it.
If you have a phone that falls into that above subset of circumstances, the best advice we can give is to switch over to a PIN or pattern lock, both of which seem unaffected by the bug.