A glitch in Samsung’s Messaging app is causing user’s phones to quietly send picture messages to random contacts without leaving a trace on the user’s phone and in one case, the app sent out an entire photo gallery to a contact in the middle of the night.
This person was fortunate enough for their pictures to have been leaked to their partner, however, the photos may have just as easily been sent to someone’s boss, coworker, or anyone else in their contacts.
While the messages weren’t logged on the user’s device the messages did show up on logs maintained by the user’s carrier T-Mobile.
Samsun Messages is the default messaging app on Galaxy phones so the bug also affects some owners of the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9. A prevailing theory on the Samsung message board is that the bug is caused by a strange interaction between Samsung Messages and recent RCS (Rich Communication Services) profile updates that have rolled out on carriers including T-Mobile.
The RCS is designed to enhance the outdated SMS protocol with new features but it seems that there is a problem in how the RCS is handled in Samsung Messages which is causing phones to randomly send pictures messages.
“We are aware of the reports regarding this matter and our technical teams are looking into it,” Samsung told Gizmodo in a statement “Concerned customers are encouraged to contact us directly at 1-800-SAMSUNG.”
T-Mobile told the publication the issue had nothing to do with its network and referred users back to Samsung for answers.
Samsung owners afraid their messages may be unintentionally leaked can either revoke Samsung Messages’ ability to access storage via their phone’s app settings or switch to a different texting app like Android Messages, until a real solution is released by Samsung.
Mark James, Security Specialist at ESET said users need to understand that any electronic or software driven device can and may go wrong at any time.
“No manufacturer wants to be involved in those unforeseen issues and will work as hard as they can to rectify them as soon as possible,” James said. “The recommendations from Samsung are to currently not update to the latest messages app and any who did should disable the app’s access to their phones storage area so it is unable to grab random photos- this can be done by going to Settings -> Apps -> SamsungMessages -> Permissions -> Storage.”
The exact cause of the issue is still yet to be determined at the time of publication.