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 Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Googleconsumer electronicssecurityAndroidPhonesmobile securitywireless security

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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

Jared Newman

PC World (US online)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?