Print 79 comment(s) - last by Rukkian.. on Feb 11 at 5:17 PM

Fragmentation may need users wondering who should be patching their Android devices

Android fragmentation has been a significant problem for Android smartphone users, smartphone makers, and developers for a long time. Hardware capabilities of Android devices vary widely and not all smartphone manufacturers are willing to give older smartphones upgrades to the latest versions of Android OS (hoping instead that customers will simply buy a new smartphone).

Security researchers are now saying that the rampant fragmentation in the Android market could leave users vulnerable to attacks. According to the researchers, one of the major problems is that it remains unclear who is responsible for patching the Android operating system on smartphones on the market.
The question is should Google, the smartphone maker, or the wireless carrier be offering fixes for security issues. Google often moves quickly to patch security problems, but carriers and smartphone makers that use a customized operating system may drag their feet or simply not offer the fix at all.

This fact, according to security experts, means that the Android operating system leaves users more vulnerable to hackers, scam artists, and malware than competing operating systems.

“You have potentially millions of Androids making their way into the work space, accessing confidential documents,” said Christopher Soghoian, a former Federal Trade Commission technology expert who now works for the American Civil Liberties Union. “It’s like a really dry forest, and it’s just waiting for a match.”

The researchers say that if a major malware outbreak for Android devices surfaces, the system for updating smartphones using Android could dramatically slow efforts to protect information carried on the devices.

Source: Washington Post

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By GotThumbs on 2/8/2013 10:01:30 AM , Rating: 0
Reality Check....

IMO. The problem is NOT the fragmentation of the Android OS versions but people choosing not to be educated/smart on their APP installs. Just as people surfing the web on laptops/desktop computers (any OS) and not being cautious of where they rome or click on. The freedom and risk of doing the same with a phone has similar consequences. Why should anyone think differently with mobile phones, which are simply mobile commuters.

If the user is looking for someone else to be a parent and control/watch over their choices/selections, then Apple is the right choice for them. While Apple is not 100% safe, it should do fine for those who don't want to bother with smart computing.

I think the biggest problem today is the explosion of adults who lack any sense/concept of self-reliance and self-accountability. There is no excuse not to educate yourself if you want to. Being lazy is not an excuse to play the blame game.

By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 10:14:52 AM , Rating: 1
Ya, its kind of a trend here... Other than the the occational "idiot" decribed above, for the most part, our elderly users have iPhones and the younger ones have Androids.

LOL "This is NOT your fathers smartphone".

By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 3:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
Signifying nothing...

More than 1/2 of those Android sales are super cheap low end phones that arent being sold to people like us here at AT/DT. If you are the type of person that needs corp. email and just occasional internet, why would you buy a high end phone like iPhone or GS3? Its a result of the platforms flexibility. If there were low end iPhones you would see the same thing. In fact if there were low end iPhones, they would probably hold the majority of marketshare... But there arent and they dont.

By KoolAidMan1 on 2/8/2013 5:28:14 PM , Rating: 2
Its because most Android phones are low end. Even among the high end the GS3 is in the minority. I don't know how else to reconcile how it has half the usage statistics of the much newer iPhone 5 or just a fraction of the 4S.

GS3 users use the internet and apps the same way an iPhone user would, there are just much fewer of them out there.

By nikon133 on 2/10/2013 3:21:40 PM , Rating: 1
Here's a possible scenario.

Android users know that computers still exist, and use them regularly - when PC is available and better device for the job, which is almost whenever PC is available.

iOS users were brainwashed with late SJ's "post-PC" mantra and, as such, try to use their iOS devices for everything, including stuff those devices cannot do, or do poorly. As a result, they spend much more time trying to achieve something.

By GotThumbs on 2/8/2013 10:06:25 AM , Rating: 2
Security is not just about APPS, but your phones settings and data sharing. Again, self education is the key.

I would like to see a way to bypass the carriers install and go vanilla Android. While older phones would not be a snappy on the latest OS, I would like the choice.

Best wishes on your choices,

By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 10:07:54 AM , Rating: 1
"I would like to see a way to bypass the carriers install and go vanilla Android"

Done... Cyanogenmod!

By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 10:08:48 AM , Rating: 2
I menat to add... I have been running CM10.1 (Android 4.2.1) on my GS3 for several weeks now. Its absolutely brilliant.

By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 10:09:59 AM , Rating: 3
I "menat" to type better too.

By Rukkian on 2/8/2013 1:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
AOKP 4.2.1 on my GNEX, and love it.

By Spuke on 2/8/2013 2:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
AOKP 4.2.1 on my GNEX, and love it.
Is that the Samsung GNEX? I'd love to upgrade mine if it is. Not sure why it hasn't been pushed OTA.

By Rukkian on 2/11/2013 5:07:28 PM , Rating: 2
That is correct, I have the verizon Galaxy Nexus, and while it is slightly annoying that Verizon has gotten in the middle of the updates, I have been on aokp for almost a year now, and it has pretty much always been rock solid, with some very nice added features.

By Spuke on 2/8/2013 2:27:48 PM , Rating: 2
I menat to add... I have been running CM10.1 (Android 4.2.1) on my GS3 for several weeks now. Its absolutely brilliant.
Damn, didn't know there was a JB ROM for that. Works great huh?

By retrospooty on 2/8/2013 2:43:35 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah. They had CM10 (Android 4.1) for months and months now. CM10.1 (Android 4.2.1) has been out for well over a month for the GS3. They are usually right on top of things with every high end phone. Anyhow, get it, its great, and no Samsung bloatware in the way. They have nightly builds and monthly stable releases.

Go here...

The GS3's are listed below. Find the right carrier model and get the latest "M Snapshot" (the monthly stable release)


By Spuke on 2/8/2013 5:50:48 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks much!!!

By bug77 on 2/8/2013 10:29:10 AM , Rating: 2
Here's a thought.... Think

You have lost most readers right there.

By someguy123 on 2/10/2013 3:39:12 AM , Rating: 3
It's weird seeing a dailytech article being less biased than the comments section.

Google put itself in a position (probably to win over manufacturers initially) where they cannot properly distribute security updates due to an OEM wall. This isn't about the protection of walled in gardens vs open systems as much as its about the poor foresight and OEM laziness/bad business practices. Being "smart" about apps is an entirely different story as this is just about general software updates.

By KoolAidMan1 on 2/10/2013 4:38:50 PM , Rating: 2
Mick didn't write the article, that's probably why.

Otherwise nothing will change the comment section, not while the Android defense force is there to spin their usual excuses. It's like seeing a Yaris user group defending their third rate cars.

You're right, Google's lack of control is the biggest thing holding back the platform right now. There is no accountability for updates and no active security updates. Carriers have little reason to support older phones when they have new and upcoming ones to sell. Someone here posted about their carrier taking a year to update to 4.0, after JB got released.

Hacking your locked bootloader and installing your own ROM is an option for your average nerd, but it isn't for normal people. OEMs and carriers either need to take better care of their customers or hand control over to Google.

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