Google issues patch to plug Android data leaks

The fix should keep contact and calendar data safe if you're on an open Wi-Fi network.

Google's putting a quick patch on an Android security flaw that could leak contacts and calendar data through open Wi-Fi networks.

The patch will roll out to Android phones starting Wednesday. "Today we're starting to roll out a fix which addresses a potential security flaw that could, under certain circumstances, allow a third party access to data available in calendar and contacts. This fix requires no action from users and will roll out globally over the next few days," Google said in a statement.

Researchers at Ulm University's Institute of Media Forensics reported the flaw last week, and the tech press took notice on Monday and Tuesday. The issue lies in the way Android handles authentication tokens. If sent over an insecure http connection, a hacker on the same Wi-Fi network as the user could conceivably steal the authentication and gain access to the user's calendar, contacts and Picasa Web albums. Although the issue of contact and calendar leakage was already fixed in Android 2.3.4, the vast majority of Android phones run older versions of the software.

The odds of being attacked are unlikely, but it's not the type of issue Google would want to ignore. The patch only addresses calendar and contact data; Google is still trying to figure out how to address the issue within Picasa.

It's interesting to note that Google was able to patch the problem quickly on old versions of the Android software. Fragmentation may be an issue for app compatibility or getting the latest Android features, but at least it didn't stop Google from pushing out a fix to a security problem.

Follow Jared on Facebook and Twitter for even more tech news and commentary.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags consumer electronicsGooglesecuritymobile securityPhonesAndroidwireless security

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?