Future Tense is the citizen’s guide to the future. A partnership among Arizona State University, Slate and the New America Foundation, Future Tense explores emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy.
No, it’s not your imagination: You’re hearing a spate of news about security flaws in the products you use every day. Two big annual hacker conferences are coming up in Las Vegas, and many of the people giving talks there are telling the world now what they’ve uncovered.
As usual, the news is grim, if not just a little terrifying—and it’s especially bad this year if you own a mobile phone using the Google’s Android operating system. The “Stagefright” vulnerability, revealed this week, suggests that a hacker could remotely take control of another person’s phone simply by sending a specially crafted multimedia message, such as a text with a video attached. In other cases the user would have to open the message. (The company that found the flaw, Zimperium, has posted instructions on how to prevent this with some newer phones.)