not so smart phones Lack of Android updates leads to unsecure handsets according to report

A company called Bit9 that creates server side security software has had a play with some of the more commonly available Android phones in the market and has found that the manufacturers lack of updates for its older handsets are leading to unsecure devices. The company has compiled a list that it calls the "Dirty Dozen" which consists of what the company considers the worst offers that have reached significant market penetration.

A company called Bit9 that creates server side security software has had a play with some of the more commonly available Android phones in the market and has found that the manufacturers lack of updates for its older handsets are leading to unsecure devices. The company has compiled a list that it calls the "Dirty Dozen" which consists of what the company considers the worst offers that have reached significant market penetration.

We'd say that this report should be taken with a grain of salt or maybe even a teaspoon or two depending on how you use your phone, but the company is suggesting that any Android phone running a version of Android older than 2.3.3 is vulnerable to various threats. There are some interesting statistics to take on board here though, such as the fact that the 12 phones picked make up close to 33 percent of the market share of Android phones currently in use, although this data only seems to apply to the US market. The top three offenders are the Samsung Galaxy Mini, the HTC Desire and the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 and you can check out the other nine models in the chart below.

Apparently Android holds 52 percent of the US handset market of smartphones and of that 52 percent 56 percent are running a version of Android older than 2.3.3. Many of these handsets are considered end-of-life by the handset manufacturers and as such, they're not bothering putting any more resources into the models that they've already sold and move away from. Even so, most of the Android handset makers have a lag time of six months or more before they deliver updates to their handsets and according to Bit9, Samsung is the worst when it comes to providing timely updates. Another problem mentioned is the fact that many new handsets ship with an already out dated version of Android, something that far too many consumers have experienced and been disappointed by.

not so smart phones Lack of Android updates leads to unsecure handsets according to report

That said, even Apple's iPhone gets a mention and has ended up on a 13th place in the list as Apple's older devices that aren't eligible for software updates suffer a similar fate to old Android devices. What the report doesn't state is what kind of threats there are, although it talks loosely about things like hackers being able to access to information on smartphones such as business email, rather than suggesting that there's a wide range of viruses that might be picked up by your smartphone.  

Bit9 doesn't give any clear solutions to the problem at hand either, but is suggestion that Google should be more involved when it comes to enforcing updates for its OS that would be able to bypass the device makers and the network service providers. They're also suggesting that large companies limit access to apps or provide a secure app store which only has certified apps in it. Another approach is to put more pressure on the device makers to get more timely releases of updates to the OS out to all of their devices and we have to say that this one sounds like the best option to us, as it's a win-win situation for everyone except possibly the device makers who would be forced to hire more software developers. Head over to the source for the full report.

Source: Bit9