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Google patches up a big modem exploit in the Nexus 6 and 6P

Google has patched an exploit in the Nexus 6 and 6P that were found by security researchers, which would have let hackers take over its modems.

Published onJanuary 9, 2017

An exploit that was found by security researchers in Google’s Nexus 6 and Nexus 6P smartphones that would have allowed hackers to take over the phones’ modem has been quietly patched. The patches were released before the exploits themselves were announced to the public, with the Nexus 6 getting updated in November and the Nexus 6P getting the same patch earlier this month.

Hackers win $215,000 for exploiting the Nexus 6P and iPhone 6s

The exploits were first discovered by a team at IBM’s X-Force. They found a flaw in the bootmode of the Nexus phones that could allow attackers with USB access to those devices to take over the modem during the bootup process. It did require that the phones have the Android Debug Bridge (ADB) enabled, which is a mode usually activated by app developers so they could load APKs on Android phones. However, the team at X-Force says there were workarounds available that could have activated ADB even if it was set as disabled in the phone’s settings.

If the attackers were successful, they could place phone calls or steal call information from the phones, along with a way to find the phone’s exact GPS coordinates. Thankfully, this problem appears to have been fixed before this vulnerability could be used by any hackers.

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