Google fixes critical Android security issues in the March 2023 update

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 7, 2023
Updated • Mar 7, 2023
Google Android
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Google published the monthly Android Security Bulletin today. The March 2023 security bulletin provides information on the patched security issues that affect Android devices.

Android devices have security patch levels. The information is found in the Settings, usually under About phone or System Update. Most Android devices display the security patch level as a date, e.g., 1 February 2023. This indicates that the device has all security patches that were released on February 1, 2023 or earlier. Google publishes monthly updates, which manufacturers use to create updates for their devices.

The March 2023 security updates include two critically rated security issues that affect the System component. One of them could "lead to remote code execution with no additional privileges needed" according to Google. In other words: the exploit works without requiring specific user activity on the device.

The two critical vulnerabilities are CVE-2023-20951 and CVE-2023-20954. Additional information about the two vulnerabilities is not yet available. The record database list both CVEs as reserved, but provide no information on them at this point in time.

Google lists the following vulnerabilities in the Android security bulletin for March 2023. Note that some of the vulnerabilities affect only devices that have these components:

  • Framework: 8 different security issues, all with the severity high.
  • System: 18 different vulnerabilities, 2 rated critical, the remaining 16 rated high.
  • Google Play system updates: 5 vulnerabilities.
  • Kernel: one vulnerability listed with a high severity rating.
  • MediaTek components: three listed vulnerabilities, all rated high.
  • Unisoc components: four vulnerabilities, all rated high.
  • Qualcomm components: three vulnerabilities, all rated high.
  • Qualcomm closed source components: 18 different vulnerabilities, 2 rated critical, 16 rated high. The two issues are also remote code execution vulnerabilities.

Android device owners need to wait until the device manufacturer releases a security patch for the device. It may take just a few days for that to happen, or longer. This depends on a number of factors, and varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Older devices may receive updates after newer devices have received them, depending on the manufacturer's policy in this regard. Google Pixel devices are usually among the first Android devices to receive security updates.

Android users may check the updates option in the Settings of their device to run manual checks for updates. Updates do not get installed automatically on Android, usually, which means that users either have to run manual checks to get the update installed on their device, or wait for the official update notification to appear, to install the security update then on it.

Summary
Google fixes critical Android security issues in the March 2023 update
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Google fixes critical Android security issues in the March 2023 update
Description
Google has published the monthly Android security update today, which fix several critical vulnerabilities.
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Comments

  1. Albert said on August 18, 2023 at 1:49 pm
    Reply

    Thanks for the tip Martin.

    It is for these kinds of posts that I follow GHacks.

    1. Mike Williams said on August 26, 2023 at 8:55 pm
      Reply

      What’s up with the generic comment, are you a bot?

  2. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:23 pm
    Reply

    2G?

    Where on the planet is that still in use? I was forced to give up using my RAZRV3 years ago because 2G was phased out by AT&T.

    1. arbuz said on August 20, 2023 at 5:02 pm
      Reply

      Everywhere 3G has been turned off and you don’t have LTE coverage, and believe me there are many developed countries where this is the case and if it weren’t for 2G you wouldn’t even be able to make a phone call.

    2. Doc Fuddled said on August 31, 2023 at 5:55 pm
      Reply

      Maybe I missed it, but I don’t believe tha term “2G” is in the article. Perhaps you are referring to “AGM G2”??

  3. Tachy said on August 18, 2023 at 3:27 pm
    Reply

    @Martin

    Your website has gone insane.

    When I the post button I then saw my comment posted on a different article page. When I opened this article again, it is here.

    1. Martin P. said on August 31, 2023 at 4:39 pm
      Reply

      @Tachy @Martin Brinkmann

      ” Your website has gone insane. ”

      Same here. Has happened several times.

      1. owl said on September 1, 2023 at 3:42 am
        Reply

        @Tachy,
        @Martin P.,

        For over two weeks now,
        I’ve been seeing “Comments” posted by subscribers appearing in different, unrelated articles.
        https://www.ghacks.net/windows-11-update-stuck-fixed-for-good/#comment-4572991
        https://www.ghacks.net/windows-11-update-stuck-fixed-for-good/#comment-4572951
        For the time being,
        it would be better to specify the “article name and URL” at the beginning of the post.

  4. Anonymous said on August 18, 2023 at 11:17 pm
    Reply

    @tachy a lot of non-phone devices with a sim in them rely on 2G, at least here in europe.
    Usually things reporting usage or errors/alarms on something remote that does not get day to day inspection in person. They are out there in vast numbers doing important work. Reliable, good range. The low datarate is no problem at all in those cases.
    3G is gone or on its last legs everywhere, but this stuff still has too much use to cancel.

    Anyhow, interesting that they would put that in. I can see the point if you suspect a hostile 2G environment (amateur eavesdroppers with laptop, ranging up to professional grade MITM fake towers while “strangely” not getting the stronger crypto voip 4G because it is being jammed, and back down to something as old ‘stingray’ devices fallen into the wrong hands).

    But does this also mean that they have handled and rolled out a fix for that nasty 4G ‘pwn by broadcast’ problem you reported earlier this year? I had 4G disabled due to that, on the off chance that some of the local criminals would buy some cheap chinese gear, download a working exploit and probe every phone in range all over town in the hope of getting into phones of the police.

  5. Andy Prough said on August 19, 2023 at 3:04 am
    Reply

    >”While most may never be attacked in stingrays, it is still recommended to disable 2G cellular connections, especially since it does not have any downsides.”

    The downside would be losing connectivity. I spend a lot of time way out in the countryside where there’s often no service or almost none. My network allows 2G, and I need it sometimes. I have an option on the phone to disable 2G, I may do that when I’m in the city and I have good 5G connectivity, but not out in the country.

    I would imagine that the stingray exploits, like most of the bad things in this world, are probably things you will run into in the crowded big cities.

  6. owl said on August 21, 2023 at 3:40 am
    Reply

    I stopped using it in a mobile (Wi-Fi line) environment, so I’m almost ignorant of the actual situation,
    But the recent reality in Japan makes me realize that “the infrastructure of the web is nothing more than a papier-mâché fiction”.
    https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/17/google-chrome-to-enable-https-first-by-default-for-all-users/#comment-4572402

    It is already beyond the scope of what an individual can do.
    What we should be aware of is the reality that “governments and those in power want to control the world through the Web”, and efforts to counter (resist and prevent) such ambitions are necessary.

  7. Anonymous said on August 26, 2023 at 9:27 pm
    Reply

    Why do you want people to disable the privacy features? Hmmmmm?

  8. Anonymous said on August 27, 2023 at 2:30 am
    Reply

    Now You: do you plan to keep the Ads privacy features enabled?

    I’d like to tell you, but apparently if you make a post critical of Google, you get censored. * [Editor: removed, just try to bring your opinion across without attacking anyone]

  9. Tachy said on August 27, 2023 at 5:15 am
    Reply

    @Martin

    You website is still psychotic. Comments attach to random stories.

  10. John G. said on August 28, 2023 at 2:46 pm
    Reply

    @Martin please do fix the comments, it’s completely insane commenting here! :[

  11. ECJ said on August 28, 2023 at 5:37 pm
    Reply

    @Martin

    The comments are seriously messed up on gHacks now. These comments are mixed with the article at the below URL.

    https://www.ghacks.net/2023/08/18/android-how-to-disable-2g-cellular-connections-to-improve-security/

    And comments on other articles are from as far back as 2010.

  12. Naimless said on August 29, 2023 at 12:57 am
    Reply

    What does this article has anything to do with all the comments on this article? LOL I think this Websuite is ran by ChatGPT. every article is messed up. Some older comments from 2015 shown up in recant articles, LOL

  13. Paul Knight said on August 31, 2023 at 3:35 am
    Reply

    The picture captioned “Clearing the Android Auto’s cache might resolve the issue” is from Apple Carplay ;)

  14. Anonymous said on August 31, 2023 at 9:57 pm
    Reply

    How about other things that matter:
    Drop survival?
    Screen toughness?
    Degree of water and dust protection?

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