Millions of Android devices at risk of attack due to Arm Mali GPU driver flaws
Millions of Android devices are at risk of cyberattacks due to the slow and cumbersome patching process plaguing the decentralized mobile platform.
Cybersecurity researchers from Google’s Project Zero team discovered a total of five vulnerabilities affecting the Arm Mali GPU driver.
The flaws have been grouped under two identifiers – CVE-2022-33917, and CVE-202236449, and they allow threat actors a myriad of options, from accessing free memory sections, to writing outside of buffer bounds. They’ve all gotten a severity score of “medium”.
More OEMs, slower patches
The flaws have since been patched, but hardware manufacturers are yet to apply these patches on their endpoints. Unlike Apple, which is the sole creator of both hardware, and software, for the iPhone mobile ecosystem, Google is not the only company creating the software and hardware for Android.
Besides Google with its Pixel phone, there is a relatively large number of smartphone manufacturers building Android-powered devices, such as Samsung, LG, Oppo, and many others. All these companies have their own, modified versions of Android, and their own approach to hardware. That said, when a vulnerability is discovered, each original equipment manufacturer (OEM) needs to apply the patch to their own devices. That can take time, as these patches can sometimes conflict with the device’s drivers or other components.
And that’s exactly the problem here.
The flaws affect Arm’s Mali GPU drivers codenamed Valhall, Bifrost, Midgard, and affect a long list of devices, including the Pixel 7, RealMe GT, Xiaomi 12 Pro, OnePlus 10R, Samsung Galaxy S10, Huawei P40 Pro, and many, many others. The entire list can be found here.
Right now, there’s nothing users can do other than wait for their respective manufacturers to apply the patch, as it should be delivered to OEMs in a few weeks.
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