Samsung will soon address its phone security problems

Galaxy handset owners can expect an official screen lock threat fix shortly and may use a temporary workaround until then.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 will receive a security update shortly. CBS Interactive

Samsung plans to release a security patch for a newly discovered lock screen hack, reports Lookout Mobile Security. According to the security firm, however, the timeframe for the official software repair is vague, expected to hit "shortly."

Lookout, in the interim, has deployed a minor update to its popular security application that attempts to address these nefarious lock screen bypass methods. To be clear, this is not a final solution to the issue; rather, it's a stopgap measure intended to alleviate user concern.

Both the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 and Samsung Galaxy S 3 were recently found to be susceptible to the attack vector. Indeed, the two devices can be "tricked" into allowing access to apps and widgets. The method essentially lets attackers worm their way past a handset's emergency dial pad lock screen with just a series of quick button presses.

To mitigate the risk, when Lookout detects the emergency contact dialer has been backgrounded, [[our solution]] preemptively brings it back to the forefront so that the rest of the phone cannot be accessed.

While the lock screen bypass hack requires a bit of practice, and the overall risk is somewhat minor, it's still a troubling issue. Samsung would be wise to address the weakness as quickly as possible lest they incur the wrath of fanboys and detractors.

"Samsung considers user privacy and the security of user data its top priority," a company representative told CNET in an e-mail. "We are aware of this issue and will release a fix at the earliest possibility."

Updated at 11:11 a.m. PT: to include comment from Samsung.

About the author

Scott Webster has spent the better part of his adult life playing with cell phones and gadgets. When not looking for the latest Android news and rumors, he relaxes with his wife and son. Scott also is the senior editor for AndroidGuys. E-mail Scott.


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