Google Pixel devices and the Essential Phone get February security patches fixing 42 issues
The latest batch of security patches is making its way over-the-air as we speak to all three Pixel phone generations, as well as the Pixel C tablet, and surprise, surprise, the Essential Phone.
Of course, that’s not really unexpected for folks familiar with how Essential typically conducts this sort of business. The company was the first to bring stable Android Pie goodies to a non-Google phone mere hours after the Pixel lineup received the major OS makeover, and since then, Andy Rubin’s controversial startup has been able to maintain a remarkable software refreshing pace.
Interestingly, Google’s February 2019 Pixel Update Bulletin lists no security patches addressing vulnerabilities or bugs specific to the search giant’s own devices. But a whopping 42 issues in total are tackled in the latest edition of the general Android Security Bulletin, the most severe of which is a “critical security vulnerability in Framework that could allow a remote attacker using a specially crafted PNG file to execute arbitrary code within the context of a privileged process.”
Both the description of this critical glitch and the sheer number of vulnerabilities patched by Google this month sound pretty scary, but fret not, as there have been “no reports of active customer exploitation or abuse of these newly reported issues.”
Another interesting and somewhat unusual thing is that the 42 patches are actually divided into two security packages, which Android device manufacturers can separately or simultaneously roll out. Google naturally recommends the fixes be bundled in a single update, but don’t be surprised if you get distinct February 1 and February 5 security patches.
In the absence of Pixel-specific security improvements, 9to5Google notably discovered update installation now pauses automatically when your Google-made phone is in use, with the process resuming by default as the device moves to idle operation. Perhaps more importantly, there’s finally an option to schedule your phone to reboot while you sleep in order to complete your updates. Meanwhile, the “About phone” info seems to have been moved from under the “System” subsection of the “Settings” menu to directly under “Settings.”