Discover a security vulnerability that affects most Android phones

bypass the lock screen of his two smartphones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5, from Google. He added that this vulnerability allows anyone

A cybersecurity researcher accidentally discovered a vulnerability that affects most devices running the Google Android operating system.

Researcher David Schütz said he found a way to bypass the lock screen of his two smartphones, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5, from Google. He added that this vulnerability allows anyone with physical access to the device to unlock it.

According to what Schütz showed in a video, exploiting the vulnerability to bypass the lock screen on Android phones is an easy five-step process that will not take more than a few minutes.

Google fixed the security issue in an Android update released last week, but the vulnerability has been exploitable for at least six months.

Schütz says he discovered the vulnerability by chance after his Pixel 6 phone ran out of battery. After entering his PIN three times incorrectly, he was able to unlock the SIM card using the PUK code. After unlocking the SIM card and choosing a new PIN, the device did not ask for the lock screen password, but only asked to scan the fingerprint.

Android devices always require a password or pattern to lock the screen when rebooting for security reasons, so going straight to fingerprint unlock didn’t come naturally.

The researcher continued to conduct experiments, and when he tried again without restarting the device, he discovered that it was possible to go directly to the home screen, that is, he was able to bypass the fingerprint as well, provided that the owner of the device had unlocked it at least once since restarting it.

It is noteworthy that the impact of this vulnerability is very wide, as it affects all devices running versions: 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the Android operating system, which did not receive the November 2022 security update.

Although physical access to the device is a prerequisite for exploiting the vulnerability, it still carries dangerous repercussions, especially for owners of stolen devices, or whose devices the attacker has access. An attacker can use their own SIM card on the target device, enter the wrong PIN three times, provide the PUK number, and gain access to the victim’s device without restrictions.

Schütz notified Google of the vulnerability in June. The company did not release a fix for it until November 7, although the company acknowledged the existence of the vulnerability and assigned it the identifier CVE-2022-20465.

Although Schutz’s report was a duplicate, Google made his report an exception and gave him $70,000 for discovering the vulnerability.

Users of versions 10, 11, 12, and 13 of the Android system can patch the vulnerability by installing the security update that was launched on November 7.

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