Millions of Samsung Galaxy Phones May Be Vulnerable to Hackers

Millions of Samsung Galaxy Phones May Be Vulnerable to Hackers

Samsung's Galaxy S4 emerges to do battle on Apple's home turf
Reuters
By Andrew Lumby

If you’re one of the millions of users of a Samsung Galaxy phone, you might be a potential target for a malicious hacker.

A report released today by NowSecure, a security firm located in Chicago, found that a glitch in Swift, the keyboard software used by default on all Samsung Galaxy devices could allow a remote attacker to compromise your phone.

This particular bug makes the phone vulnerable to what is known as a “man in the middle” attack. The Swift software consistently sends requests to a server, checking for updates. To someone with the right knowhow, though, it’s possible to impersonate Swift’s server and send through software that can be used to gain control of the device.

The main problem with this vulnerability is that there’s no real solution. The Swift keyboard is so integrated into Samsung’s software that it cannot be removed or disabled — even if it is switched out with a different keyboard app. Steering clear of unsecured Wi-Fi networks will make you less likely to be targeted, but it won’t render you invulnerable.

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Swift runs with elevated permissions, giving it pretty much free rein around the phone. This means that a hacker that worms his way into it can also access the Galaxy’s microphone and camera, track the user’s location or listen to their calls. They can even install apps.

NowSecure claims to have made Samsung and Google’s Android team aware of this vulnerability in late 2014, and Samsung reportedly has made a patch available to network providers. It’s not clear, though, whether providers have pushed out the patch to users yet. Many networks have a record of being notoriously slow to push through updates and security patches, and NowSecure’s tests found a number of Galaxy phones on different carriers were still vulnerable as of Tuesday.

If you’re of a more technical bent, you may be interested in seeing the details of NowSecure’s report on their blog. If you’re of a less technical bent, you might want to check with your carrier and try to avoid insecure Wi-Fi networks.

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The 10 Worst States to Have a Baby

Like all of these “commodities,” even if you don’t need it yourself, odds are that someone in your economic circles does. (When Americans on welfare get their checks, formula and diapers are some of their first purchases.) It’s portable, there’s no ready
Temych/iStockphoto
By Millie Dent

The birth rate in the U.S. is finally seeing an uptick after falling during the recession. Births tend to fall during hard economic times because having a baby and raising a child are expensive propositions.

Costs are not the same everywhere, though. Some states are better than others for family budgets, and health care quality varies widely from place to place.

A new report from WalletHub looks at the cost of delivering a baby in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as overall health care quality and the general “baby-friendliness” of each state – a mix of variables including average birth weights, pollution levels and the availability of child care.

Mississippi ranks as the worst state to have a baby, despite having the lowest average infant-care costs in the nation. Unfortunately, the Magnolia State also has the highest rate of infant deaths and one of lowest numbers of pediatricians per capita.  

Related: Which States Have the Most Unwanted Babies?

On the other end of the scale, Vermont ranks as the best state for having a baby.  Vermont has both the highest number of pediatricians and the highest number of child centers per capita. But before packing your bags, it’s worth considering the frigid winters in the Green Mountain State and the amount of money you’ll need to spend on winter clothing and heat.

Here are the 10 worst and 10 best states for having a baby:

Top 10 Worst States to Have a Baby

1. Mississippi

  • Budget Rank: 18
  • Health Care Rank: 51
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 29

2. Pennsylvania

  • Budget Rank: 37
  • Health Care Rank: 36
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 51

3. West Virginia

  • Budget Rank: 13
  • Health Care Rank: 48
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 50

4. South Carolina

  • Budget Rank: 22
  • Health Care Rank: 43
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 49

5. Nevada

  • Budget Rank: 39
  • Health Care Rank: 35
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 46

6. New York

  • Budget Rank: 46
  • Health Care Rank: 12
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 47

7. Louisiana

  • Budget Rank: 8
  • Health Care Rank: 50
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 26

8. Georgia

  • Budget Rank: 6
  • Health Care Rank: 46
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 43

9. Alabama

  • Budget Rank: 3
  • Health Care Rank: 47
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 44

10. Arkansas

  • Budget Rank: 12
  • Health Care Rank: 49
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 37

Top 10 Best States to Have a Baby

1. Vermont

  • Budget Ranks: 17
  • Health Care Rank: 1
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 5

2. North Dakota

  • Budget Rank: 10
  • Health Care Rank: 14
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 10

3. Oregon

  • Budget Rank: 38
  • Health Care Rank: 2
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 14

4. Hawaii

  • Budget Rank: 31
  • Health Care Rank: 25
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 1

5. Minnesota

  • Budget Rank: 32
  • Health Care Rank: 5
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 12

6. Kentucky

  • Budget Rank: 1
  • Health Care Rank: 33
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 20

7. Maine

  • Budget Rank: 25
  • Health Care Rank: 10
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 15

8. Wyoming

  • Budget Rank: 22
  • Health Care Rank: 17
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 7

9. Iowa

  • Budget Rank: 14
  • Health Care Rank: 25
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 9

10. Alaska

  • Budget Rank: 50
  • Health Care Rank: 6
  • Baby Friendly Environment Rank: 2

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