FOR HACKERS, SCANNING for an open “port”—a responsive, potentially vulnerable internet connection on a would-be victim’s machine—has long been one of the most basic ways to gain a foothold in a target company or agency. As it turns out, thanks to a few popular but rarely studied apps, plenty of smartphones have open ports, too. And those little-considered connections can just as easily give hackers access to tens of millions of Android devices.
THE LATEST ANDROID vulnerability to fret about isn’t limited to any particular device, or any specific firmware version. That’s because it doesn’t start with Android at all, but with Qualcomm, the company that provides internal components for hardware manufacturers. Lots of them. In this case, 900 million Android smartphones with Qualcomm inside are at risk, and fixing them will be no easy task.