What is it, is my phone at risk, and what do I do?

Just over a month after Samsung announced its flagship Galaxy S22 series, a security researcher discovered a major vulnerability that puts them, and a few other Android phones, at risk. Over the past few days, there have been a lot of questions and concerns regarding the vulnerability known as Dirty Pipe. Here’s a summary of the Dirty Pipe exploit, affected phones, and what you can do to stay safe.

What is a “Dirty Pipe”?

Dirty Pipe is the name given to the CVE-2022-0847 vulnerability, found in Linux kernel versions 5.8 and later. The researcher who discovered the problem found it through what was supposed to be a bug that intermittently corrupted the access records on the device. A deeper examination of the exact cause indicates that the problem could be used as a very dangerous exploit. The mechanism is complex, but at its core, the vulnerability allows data to be inserted into arbitrary files due to the way the Linux kernel reads, writes, and passes data through so-called “pipes” – hence the name.

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Since everything in Linux is a “file”, and because Dirty Pipe can selectively modify data in any file (either directly or through how the file is read via the cache), this means that an attacker can use the exploit to modify system files. The abuser can use a Dirty Pipe exploit to enter arbitrary code to be run by a privileged process. This code can then be used for all kinds of potential applications, such as granting root permissions to other programs and modifying the system without permission.

In less technical terms, Dirty Pipe is a Linux vulnerability that allows a malicious application to gain almost complete control of the system, That’s scary.

Should I be worried?

The probability of a Dirty Pipe attack victim failing on your Android phone or tablet is low, but there is still cause for concern. Since Linux does more than just servers and your friend’s laptop, many devices are likely to be at risk. Many embedded systems, smart home devices, set-top boxes, and even the majority of phones in the world run Linux – in the latter case, courtesy of Android. So he said, Most Android device owners don’t have to worry.

To start, Dirty Pipe only affects Android devices running Linux kernel 5.8 and above. There is no complete list of phones associated with certain versions of the Linux kernel, but many Android phones “live” on a particular version of the kernel for their entire life. Kernel 5.8 was released in 2020, but Android devices didn’t start receiving any more recent versions until Android 12. Generic Kernel images complicate this a bit, but only Pixel 6 and 6 Pro are using it, and consumer devices using kernel versions yet 5.8 It didn’t even appear until Android 12 either.

In short, If your phone is running Android 11 or earlier,You are safe from Dirty PipeAnd even if you have upgraded to Android 12, you don’t have to worry. this means bone Phones from 2021 and earlier are not affected. However, Some newer phones are affected.

we know Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 series affected by Dirty Pipe. We’ve reached out to Qualcomm and MediaTek for more details about which chipsets may support weak versions of the Android kernel. Android Police have separately confirmed that the Xiaomi 12 Pro is running an affected version of Linux kernel. Odds are that some, if not all, phones with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and Android 12 are also at risk.

How can I check if my phone is affected?

If you’re concerned about whether your phone is vulnerable to Dirty Pipe, until things are patched, checking is easy, but not always straightforward. The kernel version should be listed somewhere in your phone’s Settings app, but different companies put it in a different place (some even call it differently). All you need to take care of now are the first two digits of the kernel.


Follow the steps below to locate the kernel version for Google Pixel, OnePlus (running Oxygen OS 12 or later) and Samsung Galaxy phones:

  • Samsung Galaxy phones
    • handle Settings about the phoneSoftware information.
  • Google Pixel phones
    • He chooses Settings about the phoneAndroid version.
  • OnePlus phones
    • go to the SettingsAbout the deviceVersion.

If you own a phone from a different manufacturer, simply type “kernel” into the settings search bar. Although it may not appear on all devices, it is a quick and easy way to access information in many cases, including devices not covered above.

Remember, if tThe first few numbers of your phone’s kernel version is less than 5.8, you are safe.

What is being done to fix the Dirty Pipe exploit?

At the moment, there is nothing you can do to fix the problem. The vulnerability on Android phones should be addressed by the manufacturers and Google via an OTA update. The issue has already been addressed in the Linux kernel itself (if you’re running a server or using Linux in another app, update ASAP), but the process of applying an update on Android is a bit more complicated due to the way Android works.

Google tells us that it is aware of the vulnerability and has shared information with partners on how to correct the issue. So far, we’re not aware of the specific patch level that will address the issue or any updates for Android devices that work, but I expect updates in the next month or two (in April or May) will likely include a fix. We’ve also reached out to Samsung, Qualcomm, and MediaTek (as chip vendors who ship cores to device manufacturers) to get a more accurate timeline.

There are some things you can do right now to reduce potential risks. If your phone is affected:

  • Don’t install apps from developers you don’t trust.
  • Do not download or install apps manually from outside the Play Store.
  • Check for system updates frequently.

Google also tells us that it is exploring ways to use Google Play Protect to provide additional protection against this issue. If you stick to sources like the Play Store for your apps, this will reduce your chances of installing a malicious app that takes advantage of the Dirty Pipe vulnerability, although it’s not a perfect defense. Applications can still download code that takes advantage of the vulnerability after they are installed.

In the coming months, Dirty Pipe’s impact on Android will be reduced as manufacturers roll out updates to address the issue. If you haven’t updated to a new major in the past six months, don’t worry. However, if you just picked a new Samsung Galaxy S22, refrain from downloading apps outside the Google Play Store, and stay tuned for OTA updates for your phone.


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