One of the more memorable events of 2015 was the announcement of the discovery of the Stagefright vulnerability, that has existed deep in the Android operating system for several years. The vulnerability was discovered in April and Google were made aware of the issue; Stagefright wasn’t announced into the public domain until the summer, by which time a number of manufacturers were already working on a security fix. What made Stagefright so worrisome for the industry, is how the vulnerability ran deep into Android. A hacker using the Stagefright exploit could install a malicious application silently on to the device via a video transmitted from a multimedia message. This application had a deep level of control over the operating system and could be used to install additional third party applications, as well as effectively hide its tracks. However, whilst Stagefright’s vulnerabilities were scary, a number of good things resulted from the announcement. One of these is how Google is releasing monthly security updates for Android and in the latest version, 6.0 Marshmallow, show the date of the security patch applied to the device.
Unfortunately, not all manufacturers have agreed to follow suit and so there are a number of reasonably current devices available on the market today that are still vulnerable to the Stagefright issue. Some of these devices are the newly released Sony Xperia Z5, Z5 Dual and Z5 Compact – model designations E6602, E6653, E6633, E6683, E5803 and E5823. However, for those Sony customers there is some good news as Sony is rolling out a security update for these devices to bring their versions of the operating system up to 32.0.A.6.152. The update will arrive as a 281 MB over the air, OTA, update and it is recommended all customers install the update as soon as it arrives.
Sony has also added a number of other fixes and improvements to the software, in addition to the Stagefright patch, including improvements to the camera, heat management and fingerprint sensor, which is reputed to be more reliable following the update. Sony report that the update is rolling out for all models listed above, but as is usual for such updates, it may take a number of days before the fix arrives on your device.