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Recently there has been the discovery of the Dirty Cow bug in the linux kernel which allows the unlogged access to superuser privileges:

Dirty Cow CVE-2016-5195 (from https://dirtycow.ninja/) :

Why is it called the Dirty COW bug?

"A race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel's memory subsystem handled the copy-on-write (COW) breakage of private read-only memory mappings. An unprivileged local user could use this flaw to gain write access to otherwise read-only memory mappings and thus increase their privileges on the system."

The Guardian - 'Dirty Cow' Linux vulnerability found after 9 years

That also applies to Android: the mobile operating system is affected. While top-end Android devices, such as the Galaxy S7 and Pixel, receive regular security updates, the vast majority of Android devices sold receive few, if any, post-sale updates.

Google declined to comment, but confirmed that Android is one of the Linux distributions affected. The company has posted a Partner Security Advisory to alert Android partners, one of the steps to those partners then issuing a patch

AFAIK Android M is based on Linux 3.4, but I know usually with supported Linux distros running older kernels that compatibility and security fixes can be backported.

My androids devices are running Android 6 (Marshmallow) - most of these are Motorola and got updated from Android 5 (Lollipop) probably about half a year after it was released - but I also know that many people are still using devices running 4 (KitKat) and older.

So to get a newer version of Android which has this (and other issues) patched, do I have to:

  • ...get a new device running Nougat? Apparently updates are supported much better - but only on new devices that come with it (finding reasonably priced ones with Nougat seems difficult in the UK at least)
  • ...wait for a OTA update?
  • ...try and flash updates myself? I think with non-Nexus devices this is difficult... largely due to drivers?

EDIT: Ok for the first part of the answer I found these saying YES (despite searching before posting...):

How should I apply updates to older devices?

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    Unless there's a kernel module that you can load that fixes this (very unlikely), there's no generic way to apply a fix to any device. – Matthew Read Oct 23 '16 at 20:50
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Maybe this is more like what you are looking http://forum.xda-developers.com/galaxy-tab-2/galaxy-tab-2-unified/kernel-anykernel-t3484739/post69241933#post69241933

I dont know if this gonna work for you right out of the box probably needs to import the ramdisk files of your device and if its append dtb then you would need your dtb binary

https://github.com/osm0sis/AnyKernel2

  • For its particular device, this is quite good. I should know, I use it! – Dan Brown Oct 24 '16 at 9:19
  • @DanBrown you can add support for your device easily – Sooraj S Oct 25 '16 at 10:05
  • That, and I have a Tab 2 :) – Dan Brown Oct 25 '16 at 10:07

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