Weird Samsung Galaxy bug? Phones are quietly texting photos to random contacts

Whole photo galleries are being sent to contacts by Samsung Messages via SMS, some Galaxy owners report.

Some Galaxy owners are a tad freaked out after discovering the Samsung Messages app sent dozens of photos from their phone to certain contacts all by itself and without asking permission.

The weird bug was reported by affected Galaxy owners last week on Reddit and Samsung's user forum. Since Samsung Messages is the default messaging app on all Galaxy phones, it also affects some owners of the Galaxy Note 8 and Galaxy S9.

One Galaxy S9 Plus owner said on Reddit that last week at about 2.30am the Samsung app sent his entire photo gallery to his girlfriend over text message, yet there was no record of the messages in the sent folder.

However, the unauthorized messages did show up in logs maintained by his US carrier, T-Mobile.

Exactly why it's happening isn't certain yet, but there is a theory that it has something to do with a report from a T-Mobile subscriber with a Galaxy S9 on Samsung's user forum who complained that Samsung Messages has become very buggy after T-Mobile's recent upgrade of Rich Communications Services (RCS), the chat-enabled replacement to SMS that Google and some carriers are pushing.

SEE: Cybersecurity in an IoT and mobile world (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

T-Mobile rolled out the RCS Universal Profile update last week but that was for the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge.

However, the report on Samsung's forum only concerned scheduled messages being sent at the incorrect time to the wrong message threads.

Whatever the cause, the forwarded photos have the potential to become a disaster, depending on what the pics are of and who receives them.

Affected users have reported only becoming aware of the sent photos after the recipient responded to the messages. The glitch appears to happen after updating the Samsung app.

Equally as strange, another user whose Galaxy sent pictures to his girlfriend via Samsung Messages claims never to use that app with his girlfriend.

Until a fix arrives, Galaxy owners may wish to disable Samsung Messages access to the device's storage, but this also disables access to previous message threads, according to some. Users will then need to switch to an alternative app for texting, such as Android Messages.

Samsung told ZDNet that it is aware of the reports of the bug and has been reviewing the issue thoroughly over the past few days.

"However, there were no hardware or software issues found to be relevant to this particular case. While there have been no known similar customer reports globally, we will continue to investigate this issue further," Samsung said.

"We encourage any customers who may have questions or concerns to contact their local customer service center."

T-Mobile said it is not its issue.

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