Protecting your mobile device from Stagefright Android vulnerability

Stagefright is believed to be the worst Android vulnerability yet discovered. All devices running Android versions Froyo 2.2 to Lollipop 5.1.1 are affected, which are used by approximately 95% of all Android devices, by nearly 1 billion people. Hackers only need to know your phone number to infect your device.

The malware is delivered via a multimedia message (MMS) sent to any messenger app that can process a specific video format - like an Android device’s native messaging app, Google Hangouts and WhatsApp.

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The most common Android messaging apps load videos automatically. You can protect yourself by disabling the Auto retrieve feature in your default messaging app, so that videos cannot be loaded in the background and infect your device.

Instructions

  1. Open the Messages app and click on the three dots icon in the upper-right corner.
  2. Click on Settings in the dropdown menu.
  3. Click on Multimedia messages.
  4. Uncheck Auto retrieve.
  5. Double-check if your Messages settings look like this:
  1. Open the Google Hangouts app and click on the three lines in the upper-left corner.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Click on SMS.
  4. Scroll down to Advanced and uncheck Auto retrieve MMS.
  5. Double-check if your Google Hangouts SMS settings look like this:
  1. Open the Messenger app and click on the three dots in the upper-right corner.
  2. Click on Settings in the dropdown menu.
  3. Click on Advanced.
  4. Uncheck Auto retrieve.
  5. Double-check if your Messenger Advanced settings look like this:
  1. Open WhatsApp and click on the three dots in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Click on Chat Settings.
  4. Click Media auto-download.
  5. Click When using mobile data and/or When connected on Wi-Fi.
  6. The When connected on Wi-Fi settings are automatically set to download videos, so it is important to uncheck the checkmark.
  7. The When connected on mobile data settings are NOT automatically set to download videos, but in case you did enable it, you should disable it.
  8. Your WhatsApp Media auto-download should now look like this:
  1. Open the Messaging app and click on the three dots in the lower-right corner.
  2. Click on Settings.
  3. Scroll down to Multimedia (MMS) messages and uncheck Auto retrieve MMS.
  4. Double-check if your Messaging settings look like this:
  • Avast Mobile Security
  • Google Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean, API 16) or higher

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