DENVER (KDVR) — The Denver District Attorney is warning Android users of a threat after a security issue is discovered that leaves a device’s microphone and camera vulnerable to hackers.

Technical experts explain that it is not a new threat, but that it is almost preventable.

Hackers can access your phone to listen to you, watch you, or even view your photos. Experts told FOX31 that there are two types of attacks: some require you to click on a link or open an email, but some are called “no-click vulnerabilities” that can happen without you even knowing it. know.

“The question is, does your phone data, for example, do you care if someone is listening to your conversations? Do you care if someone is watching you, you know, while you’re in your bedroom, getting dressed, or doing something else? Do you know? So if you care about that, this fix becomes important,” said Mitch Tanenbaum, Chief Information Security Officer for CyberCecurity.

A patch is a software update that often fixes a bug or vulnerability. The vulnerabilities allow hackers to do what is called a “remote code execution attack”.

“It gives them the ability to hit, you know, past photo videos. This actually allows them to take control of the phone and take new photos. It actually allows them to record videos, remove GPS tags from photos. It’s very intrusive!” said James Turgal of Optiv.

Optiv said it only got worse from there, but they could access personal, financial and business information.

“So the actual threat is really much more nefarious, isn’t it. It’s not just a threat to privacy,” Turgal said. whether it’s wired or the devices you carry – everyone does online banking, right – so your whole life and sometimes your livelihood is connected to the internet.”

What are Android phones

CyberCecurity’s Mitch said that essentially the older the phone, the greater the risk.

“Every two years you really need to replace your Android phone if you are an Android phone user, not because the phone is no longer making phone calls, but because it is no longer patched,” said Tanenbaum.

He said to make sure updates are automatic and your phone is always supported.

And it’s not just phones: anything with a camera can be targeted.

“All the mainstream vendors are all very good at releasing patches. It’s when you go for a cheap brand, when you go to the local discount store and say, “Oh, well, that camera is $10 less than the brand name camera.” So how do you think they save that money? said Tanenbaum.

According to Mitch, security features are often compromised first.

Turgal at Optiv reminded everyone to practice good “cyber hygiene”:

  • Have strong passwords
  • Turn your devices on and off regularly
  • Restart your Wi-Fi network

Google, owner of Android, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.