There has been a lot of talk in the past few days about vulnerabilities in various phones. One particular handset that springs to mind is Samsung’s Galaxy S3 which has apparently been shown to have a couple of security concerns this week, the most noteworthy of which was in relation to factory resetting. Basically, a hacker could create a simple HTML web page or even a QR code which, if read by the phone, could cause it to reset itself, taking all the user’s data with it.
It is now apparent, however, that this issue surrounding Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) is not unique to Samsung handsets – many other Android devices may be at risk too. To find out if yours is, and to protect it, you can use a new and totally free app from BitDefender – USSD Wipe Stopper.
After downloading the app from Google Play and installing it you simply need to click on it’s icon (as seen above) and it will then assess whether your phone is vulnerable or not.
As you can see from the image below my handset is, despite being an HTC Desire HD which has nothing to do with any of Samsung’s lineup other than the fact it runs the Android operating system.
Fortunately, this app from BitDefender will warn you if your handset is at risk and will also advise of any attempts to run USSD commands on your device, thereby giving you the opportunity to avoid running the factory reset command should you come across it.
The app also gives you the opportunity to try a test link on BitDefender’s own web site. The phone is asked to report back on what it’s IMEI number is via the use of a USSD command.
If your phone does indeed return it’s IMEI then that meand other USSD commands could pose a risk.
Fortunately, by using this app, my otherwise vulnerable phone is now protected. in combination with BitDefender’s free mobile security app I can feel safe whilst using my phone to surf the web.