Google is taking steps to prioritize the security of the Android baseband [3], which handles communication with cellular networks [3]. By utilizing Clang sanitizers [1] [2] [3] [4], such as Integer Overflow Sanitizer (IntSan) and BoundsSanitizer (BoundSan) [1] [2] [4] [5] [6], Google aims to detect and prevent vulnerabilities in the baseband code, ultimately reducing the risk of attacks.


Clang sanitizers are tools designed to analyze C/C++ code and identify memory corruption vulnerabilities [3]. These sanitizers [1] [2] [4] [5] [6], including IntSan and BoundSan, are part of the UndefinedBehaviorSanitizer (UBSan) [1] [2] [4] [5]. By adding additional checks to the code, Clang sanitizers can enhance the security of the baseband and detect arithmetic overflows and perform bounds checks in critical attack areas. Although there is a performance overhead, Google plans to implement these sanitizers throughout the entire codebase. However, it is important to note that these sanitizers do not address memory safety vulnerabilities, which may require transitioning to a memory-safe language like Rust [4].

Google recognizes the significance of utilizing modern toolchains and exploit mitigation technologies to raise the security standards for the baseband. As a result, Google has updated the severity guidelines of Android’s Vulnerability Rewards Program [6], categorizing vulnerabilities in the cellular baseband as critical [6]. By enabling sanitizers in security-critical attack surfaces [1] [6], such as functions parsing messages delivered over the air and libraries encoding/decoding complex formats [6], an incremental deployment strategy can be implemented to maintain a secure environment. Additionally, Google has rewritten the Android Virtualization Framework’s protected VM firmware in Rust [4], providing a memory-safe foundation that further strengthens the security of the baseband.


Google’s focus on enhancing the security of the Android baseband through the use of Clang sanitizers demonstrates their commitment to protecting user data and preventing potential attacks. By implementing these measures, Google aims to mitigate vulnerabilities and maintain a secure environment. The introduction of updated severity guidelines and the adoption of a memory-safe language like Rust further emphasize Google’s dedication to improving the security of the baseband. These efforts will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the overall security of Android devices and the protection of user information.