The “Stagefright” security vulnerability was discovered back in April 2015. The issue revolves around the code used to display multimedia messages, or MMS, which is deeply integrated into Android and has been since version 2.2 FroYo was released. How deep is the integration? How much damage could malware accessing the device via the Stagefright exploit do? In theory, the vulnerability would allow an attacker to silently gain control of the device by installing applications and scripts by an infected MMS. Once the attacker has a foothold in the device, he or she would be able to further compromise the device and delete the offending MMS. If this were to happen when the user was asleep, by the time he or she were awake, they could carry on their day unaware that their device had been compromised during the night. Now imagine that when the Stagefright vulnerability was publicly discussed, the estimate was that somewhere around 950 million devices were potentially vulnerable.
Meanwhile, carriers and developers have been working to prevent the potential spread of any malware carried via an infected MMS. A number of messaging applications have been updated with improved security features and various manufacturers have released security patches. Better yet, Google and other manufacturers have promised to release security patches in the form of software updates on a monthly basis. In the case of Google, this means supported devices from the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 and later. Other manufacturers are working on releasing their own security updates and today, the is that Verizon has released the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge and Note 4 patches to combat the Stagefright vulnerability.
This update brings the software version up to LRX22C.N915VVRU2BOG5 and do not provide any of the more typical and promised improved battery life or improved performance (and often both), as Verizon’s release notes only cite that the device is receiving a security update. Verizon Galaxy Note 4 and Note Edge customers are already reporting that their device has received the update, so if you have this device, check your notifications: it should already be telling you that there’s an update ready to download and install.