Government Releases Urgent Advisory Regarding Android 13 and Earlier Devices: Risk Assessment, Impacted Devices, and Phone Security Measures


Due to the substantial number of Android phone users in India, the Android vulnerabilities have the potential to affect millions of individuals. Exploiting these weaknesses could allow attackers to gain device control, access sensitive data, or render the device inoperable

The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has issued a critical warning for older Android devices, specifically targeting Android versions 13 and prior. On its official website, CERT-In has identified multiple vulnerabilities within the Android operating system that pose significant risks to users.

CERT-In has categorized these Android OS vulnerabilities as ‘CRITICAL,’ signifying the potential for severe consequences when exploited. The government advisory emphasizes that these vulnerabilities could provide attackers with the ability to execute unauthorized code on the device, gain elevated privileges, access sensitive user data, and even trigger a denial of service (DoS) event, rendering the device inoperable. In simpler terms, these security flaws could empower hackers to seize control of your Android device, pilfer your data, or incapacitate it.

Affected Android Devices According to CERT-In, these highlighted vulnerabilities predominantly affect Android devices running older versions of the operating system, specifically Android versions 11, 12, 12L, and 13.

What is particularly concerning is that these vulnerabilities are not limited to a single component; they span various parts of the Android system. This includes critical elements like the Framework, System, Google Play system updates, as well as components associated with different hardware manufacturers, such as Arm, MediaTek, Unisoc, Qualcomm, and even Qualcomm’s closed-source components.

Fortunately, Google has already released an update for the Android OS to address these issues. As a result, users are strongly advised to promptly update their devices and take essential security precautions to safeguard their phones.

How to Protect Your Smartphone To protect your device from vulnerabilities and potential malicious attacks, follow these security recommendations:

  1. Apply Security Patches Urgently: The government’s warning specifically notes that some vulnerabilities may already be actively exploited. The most immediate and effective measure to secure your device is to apply security patches by updating the operating system. These patches are designed to rectify identified vulnerabilities and enhance your device’s security.
  2. Keep Your Android OS Updated: Regularly update your Android operating system to ensure you have the latest security enhancements and features that can defend your device against known vulnerabilities.
  3. Exercise Caution with App Downloads: Be cautious when downloading and installing apps, especially from unofficial sources. Avoid third-party apps and rely on trusted app stores like the Google Play Store. Additionally, carefully consider the permissions you grant to apps.
  4. Review App Permissions: Periodically review and manage the permissions granted to apps on your device. Revoke permissions that appear excessive or unnecessary for the app’s intended functionality.
  5. Backup Your Data: Consistently back up your data to an external source or cloud storage to safeguard your valuable information in case of unexpected incidents.

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