x PhoneArena is looking for new authors! To view all available positions, click here.
  • Home
  • News
  • MediaTek-based Android phones vulnerable to weird SMS hack

MediaTek-based Android phones vulnerable to weird SMS hack

Posted: , by Luis D.

Tags:

MediaTek-based Android phones vulnerable to weird SMS hack
A new discovery by blogger Korben suggests that many MediaTek-based Android phones are susceptible to the strangest of hacks. All it takes to remotely reboot some unlucky user's phone is to text them the symbol '='. In MediaTek chipset language, this symbol apparently equals "shutdown and reboot". Korben demonstrated the vulnerability in the video below. 

If you are unfortunate enough to get spammed with exploitative messages, you could have your phone rendered unusable.

Some popular Alcatel handsets, such as the One Touch Idol X, Idol Ultra, 997D, Pop C3, S-Pop, and Star, have been confirmed as vulnerable.To find out whether your MediaTek-based phone gets lured by the trick, text yourself '=' without the quotes. If you end up rebooting, fear not - simply change your default messaging app to something other than the default one.

Hopefully the flaw doesn't end up bigger than what it currently is, otherwise hackers will have a field day with the majority of Chinese phones.


via Neowin

23 Comments
  • Options
    Close




posted on 24 Jun 2014, 02:36 4

1. fzacek (Posts: 2194; Member since: 26 Jan 2014)


This is why I don't trust cheap Chinese companies like MediaTek. Qualcomm or any other reputable company would never let something like this happen...

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 02:40 5

2. SeanContra (Posts: 74; Member since: 24 Mar 2014)


Uhhh..... Okay, I'm not even gonna try.
Whatever makes you happy, man :)

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 03:09

6. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3616; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Whats wrong with that anyway, he's right.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 04:12 9

9. Shatter (Posts: 2031; Member since: 29 May 2013)


All hardware/software has vulnerabilities somewhere. You are a fool to think that your safe from things like this just because you use a CPU made by a brand with a higher reputation.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 04:47 3

10. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


@Shatter... AGREE!!!

When a good company like qualcom have this kind of bug, people will 'understand', but when 'second grade' company like mediatek did it, people will scream 'told you'.... and (some of) this people saying they rooted for underdog .... what a shame.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 16:30 1

23. SeanContra (Posts: 74; Member since: 24 Mar 2014)


Aww man, I missed the fun bit.
Good points there, Shatter and WahyuWisnu :D

I was just busy for worked so I "w/e"-ed it :P
Well said, sirs.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 03:10 2

7. superfans (Posts: 151; Member since: 30 Jul 2012)


A lot if electronic gadgets like your laptop , desktop , tablet and phone have a little MediaTek inside , just like how iFans hate Samsung but cant denial the fact that Samsung is inside of many electronic gadgets just like MediaTek , no matter how you trust it or not.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 04:48 1

11. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


they might be forgeting the intel pentium bug.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 02:41

3. Duketytz (Posts: 519; Member since: 28 Nov 2013)


This is going to be fun hehehe>:)

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 09:01 2

15. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


just as fun as the apple OS X bug on file:///

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 13:00 1

19. xche78x (Posts: 101; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)


i can foresee you messing with your friends who uses mediatek phones, sending them the = text while they are doing stuff on their phones like casual gaming etc boom restart

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 02:53

4. vuyonc (Posts: 383; Member since: 24 Feb 2014)


Lolwut

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 03:04 1

5. StraightEdgeNexus (Posts: 3616; Member since: 14 Feb 2014)


Thats what happens when a Third tier company makes mediocre quality chipsets, snapdragons are arguably the best.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 04:50 1

12. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


I agree that snapdragon is the best, I don't buy any other phone than snapdragon phone, but that doesn't make mediatek a bad company. each product has it's own bug/weakness. If it wasn't for mediatek, maybe the SD will be more expensive, and your snapdragon 400 MotoG will be US$400 and yours snapdragon S4 Google Nexus 7 (2013) will be US$500.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 13:16 1

21. renz4 (Posts: 270; Member since: 10 Aug 2013)


their hardware no doubt among the best but it doesn't mean they are free from problem like what happen right now on mediatek

http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTcyODU

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 04:02

8. wax33 (Posts: 45; Member since: 06 Apr 2014)


Takes an idiot to believe a SoC would reboot when it copies a specific byte.

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 06:20

13. micmic9999 (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Jan 2012)


i tried sending = to my Xiaomi Redmi/Hongmi phone using another Xiaomi Redmi and Xperia Z2 and it did no restart the phone. :)

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 12:55

17. xche78x (Posts: 101; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)


why do that on the z2? it uses snapdragon 801 not mediatek. xiaomi also customizes their gui heavily so they probably changed the default messaging app on the redmi...

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 16:21

22. SeanContra (Posts: 74; Member since: 24 Mar 2014)


Try Xperia C. I did.
It worked wonderfully :D

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 07:45

14. justsayit (Posts: 240; Member since: 09 May 2013)


so what will happen if phone rebooted?
one of my phone which powered by mtk soc get reboot when recieve the text

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 12:58

18. xche78x (Posts: 101; Member since: 11 Mar 2014)


nothing it just reboots if you follow the very simple instruction, but for techies with twisted minds this exploit could be enhanced and they can probably use this exploit as base and take control of your phone in the future if the issue is not fixed by mediatek...

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 13:04

20. WahyuWisnu (Posts: 1001; Member since: 29 May 2014)


or, if your phone hang, just ask a friend to send '='
lol

posted on 24 Jun 2014, 10:40

16. micmic9999 (Posts: 11; Member since: 03 Jan 2012)


i have tried to text any Cherry Mobile phone brand and the hack worked '=' will restart the phone - this could really cause annoyance if you keep on texting the '=' sign and your phone kept on rebooting.

Want to comment? Please login or register.

Latest stories