Just recently, we discussed in detail about a vulnerability in Android’s stock dialer app that can allow certain USSD codes hidden behind web links to completely wipe your personal data, and how you can prevent such hack attempts using the Bitdefender USSD Wipe Stopper tool. Available in the Google Play Store for free, ESET USSD Control is yet another handy solution coming from a trusted company that helps you protect your Android device from falling an easy prey to ‘dirty USSD’ hack attempts. Once installed, the tool keeps running in the background, alerting users in case a potentially harmful USSD code is about to be executed on their devices. If a situation arises where your network provider, or worse, a hacker tries to access your device via some sort of a USSD code, the app prompts you to first determine the nature of the code by using ESET USSD Control as the default dialer app. It then scans the code for any potential threat and informs you whether it is safe to execute the code or not.
Unlike Bitdefender, USSD Wipe Stopper which natively supported running a sample test code on your device to check its effectiveness, ESET USSD Control requires you to navigate to a test URL (eset.com/tools/ussdtest) using any web browser on your Android device.
As you launch said webpage, a pop-up message appears on your screen prompting you to select the default dialer app to accept the code. As mentioned earlier, to be on the safe side, you must opt for ESET USSD Control, since it will help you determine the exact nature of the code, and learn if it’s safe to execute or not.
Also, unlike the aforementioned solution from Bitdefender, ESET USSD Control cannot be launched from the app drawer. Instead, it just keeps running silently in the background, and only alerts you in case there is a code request intended for your device.
Barring Samsung Galaxy S III (which is said to have already received a security patch for this very purpose), most of the other known vulnerable Android devices are still defenceless against this remote data wipe hack. Therefore, it is only appropriate to act wisely, and take all the necessary measures to get protection against it before the damage is done. After all, losing your precious Android data to one wrong click is the last thing that you’d want.