Several Android phones appear to be vulnerable to an exploit in the WiFi firmware, allowing an attacker to run malicious code on the WiFi SoC, and even execute code in kernel space. Google patched its Pixel phones and some recent Nexus models, but older models such as the Nexus 5 have no patch available yet. It seems that no attack is known in the wild yet, but if there was one it could spread quickly from device to device.

I have a Nexus 5; what can I do to secure my phone? For now I have WiFi turned off, but that significantly reduces the usefulness of my phone. I'm comfortable running commands with adb to install drivers, if that's possible. I'm also willing to install another OS, although I'd rather not have to.

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    Although this is a vulnerability, there are no known exploits of it... The reality is there likely will never be because unless it is focused to a single device, and unless you are a celebrity, high-ranking government official, or some other high-profile individual, this vulnerability falls under the same category as most Android vulnerabilities... it is just fluff for media and not a real problem. This is one you can safely ignore, unless you are one of those 0.0001% of population that is under extreme scrutiny and constant privacy attacks. – acejavelin Apr 13 '17 at 13:40
  • @acejavelin Unless I'm mistaken, this vulnerability would allow a worm to spread through a general population of devices and run any code on them. That seems pretty serious to me, and hardly limited to a minority of users. I'd love to be proven wrong tho. – z0r Apr 13 '17 at 13:45
  • @z0r Vulnerability does not equal exploit. But I can't prove you wrong... All I can tell you is there is no known exploit, and if there is ever one other security features of Android are likely to prevent it, such as DMverity, SElinux, sandboxing, etc. These are not considered in looking for a Vulnerability. Besides, this is a hardware based Vulnerability, you can't do anything about it... Your OEM or SOC manufacturer would have to correct it. – acejavelin Apr 13 '17 at 13:52
  • As discussed on security.se, this vulnerability could give an attacker complete control over a phone, and could spread like a worm. PoC code is already public, so creating such a worm would be cheap (even profitable). I see it as only a matter of time. So if it's true that "you can't do anything about it", I guess you mean my only option if I care about this is to buy a new phone. Pity. I do care, and I think most people should. – z0r Apr 16 '17 at 11:42
  • You should be buying a new phone anyway, as N5 is out of support for quite a while, so it's also only a matter of time before it's exposed to any other kind of vulnerability. Although custom ROMs would bring monthly security patches (I always have the latest LOS build on my devices), nobody knows the device better than Google and therefore no device-specific patches. – Andy Yan Apr 16 '17 at 12:08

This Chip is common in many Phones. The details of the exploit are sufficiently well known as are 1000's of others, the chance of the average person getting hit is low (unless you work somewhere interesting and keep interesting Info on your Devices - Computer, Tablet, Phone, even some TV's are spying).

Partial List of affected Phones with this Chipset: Nexus 5, 6 and 6P, most Samsung flagship devices, and all iPhones since the iPhone 4.

So many are affected. It someone were so inclined they could own any Device with this Chipset within WiFi range - chances of it being your Device is remote, so don't lose sleep just Update (if you're really worried).

Updating to the newest Firmware and Software is almost always the correct answer to this problem - rarely new Updates introduce worse vulnerabilities.

So, always Update. It's the only Solution. This one Hack is not the only thing affecting your various Devices. Updating prevents all but Day-0 and the as yet unrepaired Bugs. If it's worth it for your Boss to pay let them know.

See: Part 1: https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.ca/2017/04/over-air-exploiting-broadcoms-wi-fi_4.html?m=0 Part 2: https://googleprojectzero.blogspot.ca/2017/04/over-air-exploiting-broadcoms-wi-fi_11.html?m=0

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