has started the – Deliver July security patches for the Galaxy S7 smartphones. However, the update is currently only available for devices sold by Telekom and its subsidiary Congstar. It remains to be seen whether the remaining variants in the DACH region will still receive the July security patches. The free models were last provided with the March security patch, while the provider variants have not received any updates since the January patches were delivered.
The S7 smartphones launched four years ago received security updates every three months. Now they no longer appear in Samsung’s official support page.
July security patches
The ofPublished July patches close a total of 20 vulnerabilities on Samsung smartphones, four of which are classified as critical. Critical vulnerabilities allow an attacker to take over the smartphone completely. In addition, Samsung fixes nine security holes in its own software, one of which is classified as critical. Samsung does not provide details of other gaps so as not to encourage attackers to exploit them.
Samsung provides monthly security updates for its current smartphones that are no more than three years old. These include the Galaxy S20, S10, S9 and Note 10, Note 9 and Note 8 series. The three-year-old S8 models only receive updates every three months.
Security patches are an important component to protect smartphones from attacks by cybercriminals. Other security layers such as sandboxing applications and security services such as Google Play Protect are equally important, as Google explains in a blog.
Overall, the security level of Android smartphones has improved significantly in recent years. The German security researcher Karsten Nohl confirms this in an interview with Spiegel-Online: “Android as a technology has become much more secure in recent years, probably even more secure than Windows.”
If, as in the case of S7 smartphones, devices only receive security updates at irregular intervals or no longer at all, it is now very difficult for attackers to carry out an attack on an Android device, which is related to the high complexity and security mechanisms of the operating system . A missing patch does not mean that errors can also be exploited. Nohl explains, “Modern operating systems include various security barriers, such as ASLR and sandboxing, which all typically have to be overcome to hack a phone remotely.” Therefore, some forgotten patches were usually not enough for hackers to take over a device. “For a successful attack, several bugs have to be linked to form a chain instead.” Due to this high level of complexity, the criminals use other methods such as social engineering to be able to cheer users off malicious apps. “In fact, there was hardly any hacking activity around Android in the past year.”
Smartphone security: Android before iOS
According to a study by Gartner, Android is now even ahead of iOS when it comes to security, with Samsung devices being best protected by the Knox security solution. Of the twelve functions in the “Corporate Managed Security” area reviewed by Gartner, Samsung Knox achieved a 100 percent “strong” rating, while under iOS 11 only 5 out of 12 parameters were rated “strong”. In the 16 device security functions reviewed by Gartner, Samsung Knox achieved the “strong” rating in 13 cases, while iOS 11 only received the top rating seven times. In general, Android is catching up with iOS, according to Gartner. While smartphones with Android 7 and five “strong” ratings of the iOS platform were still inferior, smartphones with Android 8 achieved the top rating 11 times and thus overtook the iPhone. Gartner has not yet released data on Android 9 and iOS 12.
Carry out update
The update should be offered for installation under Settings – Software update on the devices mentioned. If the update is not available there or if the download limit of the server has been reached, you can try to install the update manually using the Samsung tool Smart Switch. This is often available earlier for Smart Switch than via OTA. Smart Switch is available for Windows and macOS. If you are not sure which firmware version is installed on your Samsung smartphone, you can find out with the Phone INFO Samsung app. The app lists the product code, among other things, so that you can find out from the table below whether an update is available. Alternatively, you can access this information by entering * # 1234 # in the phone app. The corresponding provider code is specified under CSC.
Samsung Galaxy S7: Current firmware versions (Source: Sammobile, as of July 14, 2020)
|Android version||Security patch||CSC (provider code in red)||Product Code||Provider|
|8.0||March 1, 2020||G930FDBT8ETC1||DBT||Free device (Germany)|
|8.0||March 1, 2020||G930FATO8ETC1||ATO||Free devices (Austria)|
|8.0||March 1, 2020||G930FAUT8ETC1||AUT||Free device (Switzerland)|
|8.0||March 1, 2020||G930FXEG8ETC1||XEG||1 & 1|
|8.0||January 1, 2020||G930FVFG7ESK7||VD2||Vodafone|
|8.0||January 1, 2020||G930FTEF7ESK1||VIA||O2|
|8.0||July 1, 2020||G930FDDX8ETE1||DTM||T-Mobile|
|8.0||July 1, 2020||G930FDDX8ETE1||DDE||Congstar|
|8.0||January 1, 2020||G930FDRE7ESK2||DRE||Hutchison Drei (Austria)|
|8.0||January 1, 2020||G930FVFG7ESK7||MOB||A1 (Austria)|
|8.0||January 1, 2020||G930FDAX7ESK1||MAX||T-Mobile (Austria)|
|8.0||January 1, 2020||G930FDAX7ESK1||TRG||Telering (Austria)|
|8.0||January 1, 2020||G930FVFG7ESK7||SWC||Swisscom (Switzerland)|