Security

Despite patches, Samsung Galaxy S7 open to Meltdown exploit and millions are affected

Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones are left open to hacking with microchip security flaw, according to research at the Black Hat conference.

The Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones are reportedly at risk of being hacked because of a microchip security flaw. Hackers can access memory within the CPUt via the Meltdown vulnerability, researchers from Austria's Graz Technical University told Reuters on Wednesday.

Meltdown is a security vulnerability in modern chip designs that allows hackers to circumnavigate system security protections to read sensitive information. Earlier this year, Samsung released security patches aimed at protecting Galaxy S7 phones from Meltdown; however, the patches don't seem to be effective enough.

SEE: Cybersecurity in 2018: A roundup of predictions (Tech Pro Research)

"Samsung takes security very seriously and our products and services are designed with security as a priority. Since being notified by Google, we've promptly rolled out security updates to address the issues in January 2018 and released software updates including additional patches in May 2018 to further protect devices at the chipset level," a Samsung spokesperson said in a statement, according to Reuters. "We recommend that all customers keep their devices updated with the latest software to ensure their device is protected at optimal level."

Graz Technical University's team unveiled its findings at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas on Thursday. They are researching if Meltdown impacts other smartphones, attempting to uncover more vulnerabilities, researcher Michael Schwarz told Reuters.

"There are potentially even more phones affected that we don't know about yet," Schwarz told Reuters. "There are potentially hundreds of million of phones out there that are affected by Meltdown and may not be patched because the vendors themselves do not know."

This announcement comes on the brink of the Galaxy Note 9 release, Samsung's latest smartphone model. If Meltdown can be exploited on most devices, then chances are the Galaxy Note 9 is not immune either, and users should take caution and ensure all devices are updated.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • Researchers found the Samsung Galaxy S7 to be at risk of hacking with microchip security flaw.
  • Hackers can use the Meltdown vulnerability to surpass security protocols and gather sensitive information.
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Image: iStockphoto/Sitthiphong

About Macy Bayern

Macy Bayern is an Associate Staff Writer for TechRepublic. A recent graduate from the University of Texas at Austin's Liberal Arts Honors Program, Macy covers tech news and trends.

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