Samsung Galaxy S7 smartphones contain a microchip security flaw discovered earlier this year that has threatened tens of millions of devices for hackers who want to spy on their users, researchers said to Reuters.
The Galaxy 7 and other smartphones manufactured by Samsung Electronics were previously considered immune to a vulnerability called fusion. According to researchers, most computers, smartphones and other computer devices are delivered all over the world.
Researchers from the Austrian Technical University in Graz told Reuters that they had found a way to exploit the vulnerability of Meltdown to attack Galaxy S7 handsets.
The team plans to announce its findings on Wednesday at the Black Hat Security Conference in Las Vegas. They study the impact of Meltdown on other brands and models of smartphones and expect to discover other more vulnerable devices in the near future, researcher Michael Schwarz told Reuters.
"There are potentially even more affected phones that we do not know yet," he said. "There may be hundreds of millions of phones that are hit by Meltdown and may not be fixed because the providers do not know it themselves."
Samsung said it has developed a patch to protect Galaxy S7 handsets from Meltdown, which began broadcasting to affected users last month.
"Samsung takes security very seriously and our products and services are designed with priority for security," the company said in a statement.
A Samsung spokesman declined to say how much Galaxy S7 were vulnerable to Meltdown attacks.
She stated that no Meltdown case had been exploited to attack an S7 handset and that no other Samsung phone was vulnerable.
Meltdown and a second vulnerability called Spectrum can be used to reveal the contents of the central processing unit of a computer – designed to be a safe haven. Hackers can exploit these vulnerabilities by circumventing hardware barriers or by encouraging applications to provide secret information such as passwords or bank details.
There is no known case of piracy that exploits these vulnerabilities in a real attack, but the unveiling of widespread hardware instabilities has shocked the IT industry, causing chip and equipment manufacturers to struggle to control the consequences.
The Galaxy S7 is currently used by about 30 million people, according to the research agency Strategy Analytics. Samsung has released two new versions of its flagship Galaxy smartphones since the launch of the S7 in 2016.