Bug in Android phone triggers reboot with 8 keystrokes

Bugs in anything are often annoying things, and rarely amusing. The recently released Android G1 phone wasn’t free of such (being a first-gen device), but I’m not quite sure whether I should file it under annoying or amusing.

A newly discovered bug in its software apparently makes each and every word typed on its keyboard “silently and invisibly interpreted as a command and executed with superuser privileges.” Put simply, this means that any user might unknowingly issue and execute commands before he or she even knows it. Might seem pretty lowbrow at first, but such a bug could actually result in a lot of backfiring. Such as when a user types in the word “reboot,” which automatically makes the phone reboot–no questions asked.

Go ahead, try it (if you’ve got a real phone, and not just an emulator). Type in the word “reboot.” Yep, every single keystroke, the eight of it. “-r-e-b-o-o-t-” Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

A report regarding the said bug has already been filed in the Android pages of Google Code, and here I’ve pasted an excerpt below:

“I was in the middle of a text conversation with my girl when she asked why I hadn’t responded. I had just rebooted my phone and the first thing I typed was a response to her text which simply stated “Reboot” – which, to my surprise, rebooted my phone.”

While the story of how this bug was discovered is funny, for some users the effect could be anything but. Imagine you were working on or doing something really important on your Android G1, and this happened. Woe to all the data you will have lost. And you.

Fortunately, this bug only seems to affect phones with firmware version 1.0 TC4-RC29 and earlier. So any phone that has received the latest firmware update pushed over-the-air by Google should be immune to it. Some users are also reporting that it only works for them while the USB cable is plugged in and the phone is in debug mode. In any case, this is definitely not supposed to be a feature, so it would probably be best if Google or T-Mobile worked to fix it pronto.

Via Dev Connection

Author: David Gonzales

I run the blogosphere.

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