Apps & Software

Worried about Stagefright? Download this app

Samsung Galaxy Line

Not sure if your phone is vulnerable to Stagefright, the MMS bug that allows a malicious person to take over your phone?

A new app called Stagefright Detector App will tell you whether your device suffers from the potentially crippling vulnerability.

The app comes courtesy of Zimperium, the firm that discovered and disclosed the bug.

One of the major issues with Stagefright is that it affects the majority of Android handsets. Even if you own a new smartphone like the LG G4, HTC One M9 or Samsung Galaxy S6, your device is still likely susceptible.

The app itself doesn’t present a fix for the vulnerability; instead, it directs people to Zimperium’s website, where a blog post lists several things an Android owner can do to protect themselves against Stagefright. The first, and perhaps most obvious suggestion, is to simply not open an MMS message from a person that you do not know.

The only time this mostly foolproof method won’t protect you is with Google Hangouts; the app is set to open messages automatically. Thankfully, it’s possible to disable this behaviour. All you need to do is go to the app’s setting menu and disable the “Auto Retrieve MMS” option.

Beyond taking those two precautions, most Android owners will have to wait until the manufacturer of their smartphone issues an update.

It’s currently not known how many Android smartphones are vulnerable to Stagefright. However, companies like Samsung and Google clearly perceive it as enough of a threat that they’ve decided to change their update policies. Within hours of one another, both Google and Samsung announced on Wednesday that they will start issuing monthly security updates to their devices.

Download the Stagefright Detector App from the Google Play Store.