Motorola’s smartphone risk of hacking with a chip-level vulnerability

Unisoc, a China-based chip manufacturer, has taken the opportunity given by the global chip shortages and is now seeking to replace MediaTek in the affordable smartphone category, while the Taiwan-based business focuses on grabbing the premium market.

With such an increase, the company is subjected to more scrutiny. While some of the company’s older chips have been identified as a threat vector, another issue has been identified that directly affects a Unisoc chip featured in three Motorola smartphones.

The Unisoc Tiger T700 chip, which runs the Motorola Moto G20, E30, and E40 smartphones, has been identified to have risks when the cellular modem attempts to connect to an LTE network, according to a Checkpoint Research report.

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It omits the check to ensure that the modem’s connection controller is reading a valid IMSI or other subscriber ID. When the processor reads a zero-digit field, a stack overflow occurs, which can be used for a denial of service attack or remote code execution, thereby isolating the user from the LTE network.

Checkpoint Research informed Unisoc about this last month, and the company classified it as critical with a 9.4 out of 10 ratings, and the vulnerability was quickly corrected. Google may provide the patch to users shortly, most likely as part of the upcoming Android security bulletin.

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