It was recently discovered that the Pixel 6 series and certain Galaxy S22 devices running Exynos modems are vulnerable to a malicious attack. To combat this, users can turn off Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE. Here’s how to turn off Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE on your Pixel 6 or Galaxy S22.
As reported by Google’s Project Zero, certain Exynos modems are susceptible to remote attacks with next to no user interaction. Simply put, if an attacker were to have your phone number, they could theoretically execute an attack on your device with absolutely no input from the user.
Since this vulnerability requires that certain 5G features be turned on, the best way to ensure a device isn’t vulnerable is by disabling those features entirely. At the time of writing, Google has pushed a fix through the March 2023 security patch. Unfortunately, that patch has only made its way to the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, leaving the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro still vulnerable.
As for Samsung devices, the Galaxy S22 is just one model out of many Samsung devices that have the same vulnerability.
How to turn off Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE
On your device, there are two settings you’ll need to turn off until a patch be be installed. The first is something most are familiar with – Wi-Fi Calling. The other is called VoLTE (Voice over LTE), and it allows a similar function and enables calls using LTE networks. Rather than restricting LTE networks to simple data, carriers allow users to place calls over LTE, which has been commonplace since 4G was rolled out. With VoLTE, calls sound clearer and just generally better.
- On your Pixel, head to the settings.
- Tap Network & internet.
- Find and tap Calls & SMS.
- Under Wi-Fi Calling, ensure each SIM is disabled.
- On your S22, head to the settings.
- Tap Connections.
- Toggle off Wi-Fi Calling.
- Tap Mobile networks and look for VoLTE calls. Turn it off.
The presence of VoLTE settings is purely dependent on what carrier you’re using and whether or not your phone is unlocked. If the setting is missing, there likely isn’t anything you can do to shut it off. To be sure, you can always search the setting menu for “VoLTE” and see if a setting appears. On the Pixel 6, VoLTE can’t be disabled since it looks like software updates in 2021 automatically enabled VoLTE and removed the toggle.
So long as Wi-FI Calling is turned off and VoLTE is disabled – if possible – your device should be more protected from the Exynos vulnerability. It’s reasonable to believe Google will release quick security patches to fix the issue in the coming days.
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Author: Andrew Romero