400 problems in Qualcomm chips: smartphones worldwide at risk

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Qualcomm recognizes that the weaknesses can be dangerous for smartphones and advises users.

One of the most important parts of a smartphone is the processor. The largest producer of processors is Qualcomm, which with the Snapdragon processor can be found in 36% of smartphones and even in more than 50% of 5G smartphones. If a problem arises at Qualcomm, it can have a huge impact and it shows.

Researchers: 400 problems in Snapdragon processor for smartphones

Checkpoint researchers took a closer look at the Snapdragon processors and their findings lead to potential problems for smartphones worldwide. This is what’s going on. The Snapdragon processor obviously consists of several parts. One such component is the Hexagon DSP, and researchers made a terrifying discovery in the coding of that chip. The chip’s programming code was found to contain no fewer than 400 weaknesses.

They drew up a report under the heading ‘Achilles vulnerability’. This report has since been shared with Qualcomm and other stakeholders and is partly confidential. They want to give smartphone manufacturers the opportunity to tackle the weaknesses, without malicious parties being able to get started.

It is clear that the weaknesses can lead to people using your smartphone for all sorts of nasty things with bad intentions. This way, your device can be transformed into an espionage device. The appliance can also be taken out of operation without the user’s permission. Finally, the weaknesses offer the possibility to install all kinds of malware.

Qualcomm acknowledges potential problems for smartphones and tries to reassure them.

Naturally, journalists asked Qualcomm for a response to the problems. In a statement to Forbes it is stated:

“Providing technologies that support robust security and privacy is a priority for Qualcomm. Regarding the Qualcomm Compute DSP vulnerability disclosed by Check Point, we worked diligently to validate the issue and make appropriate mitigations available to OEMs. We have no evidence it is currently being exploited. We encourage end users to update their devices as patches become available and to only install applications from trusted locations such as the Google Play Store.”

It seems that this attempt at reassurance is not accepted. Under the name DSP gate, the international press is now diving deep into the situation.

You can do this to protect your smartphone

As Qualcomm says in its response, there are a number of things you can do to protect your smartphone. For example, it is wise to only use apps from reliable sources such as the Google Play Store. Now that protection is certainly not waterproof. A good virus scanner for your smartphone is therefore recommended. In addition, 2-factor authorization appears to be a safe way to better protect access to sensitive apps.

Of course, it is also important to install security updates as soon as they become available. Hopefully, the latest chips can be protected immediately upon implementation.

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