Say what you will about Samsung, but their catapulting into the number-one position among Android smartphone vendors hasn't made them feel "above" responding to various product foibles. Speaking to Android Central, a Samsung spokesperson confirmed that the company is aware of a fairly-serious kernel exploit affecting a number of its high-profile devices using the Exynos 4 chipset. This includes handsets like the Galaxy S III and Note II (in most forms), and tablets such as the Note 10.1 or Tab 7.7.
Here's the company's statement, which we have since received an identical copy of, as well:
Samsung is aware of the potential security issue related to the Exynos processor and plans to provide a software update to address it as quickly as possible.
The issue may arise only when a malicious application is operated on the affected devices; however, this does not affect most devices operating credible and authenticated applications.
Samsung will continue to closely monitor the situation until the software fix has been made available to all affected mobile devices
Basically - sit back and hold on while we ready a patch. As users on XDA have pointed out, the problem is far from impossible to fix, so we're assuming Samsung already has its battle plan pretty well laid out at this point. The issue, at least in the US, will be the rapidity with which carriers approve this patch for over-the-air distribution - a major road-block to any device update. It's worth noting, though, that the US version of the Galaxy S III is not affected, and thus will not need a patch (it does not use an Exynos chipset).
Something tells me they might move just a little more quickly when they knowingly have handsets vulnerable to a highly-publicized security flaw.
Now that Samsung is officially in the smartphone "big boy" leagues, the less tech-savvy press is having a bit of a field day with this admittedly newsworthy screw-up. And, frankly, this is primarily because Android - being the most ubiquitous mobile platform on earth - is under more security scrutiny than rival operating systems. Along with a thriving developer / modification community that feels a duty to publish such flaws (and rightly so), it's easy to paint a slightly skewed portrait of Android as being particularly susceptible to malware or viruses. And that picture is one antivirus and information security analysts are all too happy to endorse with gusto in their mass-emailed press releases and interview solicitations.
Anyway, expect a patch to the affected devices in the coming weeks. And if you're in the US, the coming weeks [to months].