It seems Apple isn’t the only smartphone provider that’s having trouble as of late with lock screen flaws as we are now hearing word that Samsung’s Galaxy Note II is suffering from similar issues. Mobile enthusiast Terence Eden said he was able to bypass the phone’s lock screen, view the home screen and make calls under certain circumstances without unlocking the handset.
The flaw was tested on a Note II N7100 with Android version 4.1.2 installed which is the latest version available in the UK. In order to perform the workaround, you’ll first need to lock the device using a pattern lock, PIN or password. From there, activate the lock screen, tap Emergency Call, then press the ICE button on the bottom left, hold down the physical home key for a few seconds then release.
The phone’s home screen will be displayed briefly. During this time, you can click on an app or widget to launch it. In the event that the Direct Dial widget is on the home screen, the phone will initiate a call.
Eden is the first to admit the vulnerability is limited in scope which is one of the reasons he decided to disclose it. Making a call relies on the Direct Dial widget being present on the home screen and running apps does little more than launch them in the background. Should the app perform a function upon launch like playing music or turning on the phone’s flash, that event will still happen as it normally would.
As of writing, there doesn’t appear to be any way to protect your handset against the home screen being accessed. Eden does, however, offer up some suggestions such as not using the Direct Dial widget, removing any calendar or e-mail widgets that may show sensitive information on the home screen and using an app locker that will ask for a password when an app is launched. Note that changing to a different launcher will not help nor will using a third party lock screen if it accesses the emergency dialer.
The Samsung Galaxy Note II is slimmer and thinner than its predecessor. The Galaxy Note II has a 1.6 GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and 16 to 64GB of internal storage to handle your daily activities. A microSD slot adds even more memory by providing the option of supporting an additional 64GB of storage.
The Samsung Galaxy Note measures 147mm (5.78in) tall and 83mm (3.27in) across, which means that it feels absolutely massive when held in the hand. However, despite its large dimensions, the Note remains very thin at only 9.7mm (0.38in) thick. Samsung has equipped the Galaxy Note with impressive internal hardware: a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage (with just under 13GB available to the user). It comes with Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread and Samsung's TouchWiz interface.
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