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XDA developer patches Samsung Exynos chip vulnerability

Following up from yesterday's Samsung security scare, XDA Developer Chainfire has created a fix for the root exploit affecting Exynos 4210- and 4412-based handsets. If you're running one of the afflicted devices then this is information you can't afford to miss.
December 17, 2012

Anyone worried about the Exynos chip exploit we covered yesterday? Well you should be able to sleep a little easier tonight, as one of the folks over at XDA-Developers has already created a fix for the issue. The concern is that malicious software could use the exploit to gain root access, and by extension all physical memory, on handsets running the Exynos 4210 and 4412 chips. Which means that all of Samsung’s recent flagship devices are vulnerable to this exploit.

However, XDA-Developer Chainfire was quick to address the problem and has provided a new apk which can be used either to root your phone using the exploit or block the vulnerability on boot. But there is a drawback; if you choose to block the exploit then your front camera on your Galaxy S3 and first-gen Galaxy Note may stop working. Whilst this may be an acceptable compromise for some, nobody would really want to be left with limited phone functionality permanently just to fix this problem.

Fortunately, Chainfire has this base covered as well, as the apk can be used to re-enable the exploit on reboot in order to regain full functionality of your device if you need it, just so long as your device is rooted.

The application also has a handy diagnostic tool which will tell you if your device is vulnerable before applying the fix. You don’t have to have rooted your device and won’t lose any data if you chose to apply the fix either.

It should be noted that the solutions provided by Chainfire are only workarounds and not actual fixes for the core problem. So I guess we’ll be waiting for official communication from Samsung before this problem is addressed fully. But I wouldn’t bet against the clever people at XDA having a fully working fix before that happens.

If you own one of the affected handsets and are worried about the security problems, then head over to the XDA forum thread to get hold of the download.