Android devices that are running the older Lollipop, Marshmallow and Nougat OS have been the subject of an exploit that tricks users into unwittingly recording audio and capturing their screens.
It was US cybersecurity company MWR InfoSecurity that revealed the new vulnerability had been present since 2014 and that approximately 77.5 percent of Android devices are affected.
It appears that not only is it possible to capture the screen visual content but audio can also be recorded.
“With MediaProjection, application developers no longer need root privileges nor do they require to sign their applications with the device’s release keys. Furthermore, there are no permissions that are required to be declared in the AndroidManifest.xml in order to use the MediaProjection service,” reads the MWR report.
“To use the MediaProjection service, an application would simply have to request access to this system Service via an Intent. Access to this system Service is granted by displaying a SystemUI pop-up that warns the user that the requesting application would like to capture the user’s screen.”
It is this SystemUI pop-up that has been exploited by cybercriminals overlaying their own program and posing as an arbitrary message.
The message then deceives the user into granting permission for the hacker’s program to record activity.
The latest Oreo software is thought to be safe as it has already been patched on the latest version. If users can’t upgrade to Android 8.0 Oreo then sadly their devices will remain vulnerable.
At the moment, it remains unclear if Google has plans to fix the exploit.
Earlier this year, Google revealed that there are now more than 2 billion active Android devices.