More than 50% of devices running Google's Android mobile operating system (OS) have unpatched vulnerabilities, opening them up to malicious apps and other attacks.
Security provider Duo Bulletin assessed 20,000 Android devices worldwide with its X-Ray scanner. The scanner is a mobile app that performs vulnerability assessments by identifying known, yet unpatched, vulnerabilities on the device that could be exploited.
Duo Bulletin says this statistic is a “fairly conservative estimate” which identifies the importance of expedient patching. The company also points to carriers and device manufacturers for poorly addressing this element of mobile security.
Android is one of the most used platforms in the world, yet it is very susceptible to security attacks.
In August, Google introduced stricter rules for applications on its Android mobile OS to reduce the number of malicious apps in the Google Play app market and improve its reputation. The revised Google Android developer policy includes new rules on app naming and a ban on apps that disclose personal information without permission.
More about Android security
- Android app security FAQ: Keeping devices safe from Android threats
- 13 Android security apps to keep you safe and secure
- Black Hat 2011: Android attacks and smartphone privacy leaks
- Quiz: Android devices and security
Prior to this tightening of Google Play regulations, 100,000 Android devices in China were affected by a Trojan malware, called MMarketPay.A. The virus, hidden in applications which appeared to be legitimate, was designed to purchase apps and content without the consent of the device user, running up high mobile bills.
Additionally, at the beginning of September, an Android SMS malware firm was fined £50,000, by the UK premium phone services regulator PhonepayPlus. The company, SMSBill, produced a malicious Facebook link that led to malware being downloaded onto Android smartphones.