Over half Android devices unpatched timebombs, says security firm

Over half Android devices unpatched timebombs, says security firm


The world’s attention might have been tightly focused on the unveiling of Apple’s new iPhone 5 last Thursday, but on the very same day Google had some pretty amazing news of its own to share. Hugo Barra, Android’s Director of Product Management, chose the iPhone 5’s launch date to announce that Android had risen to a staggering 500 million devices activated, with an even more astounding statistic being that 1.3 million Android activations now take place every day. In the light of such achievements — and indeed amplified because of them — one security company’s analysis of Android software vulnerabilities makes for particularly sobering reading.

According to initial results from Duo Security’s recently launched X-Ray app (which performs vulnerability assessments on Android devices by scanning them for potentially exploitable security holes in software code), more than half of the Android devices on the market (meaning theoretically some 250 million Android smartphones and tablets, going off Google’s own numbers) contain “unpatched vulnerabilities that could be exploited by a malicious app or adversary.â€

The culprit? Not Google, according to Duo Security, but rather your telco: “As carriers are very conservative in rolling out patches to fix vulnerabilities in the Android platform, users’ mobile devices often remain vulnerable for months and even years.†And here you thought the biggest drawback of Android fragmentation was not getting access to all the cool, new features in updates like Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean? Not so. If you’re concerned about the above and whether your device might be at risk, you can download X-Ray for Android as a non-market APK here and find out more about the app here.

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