Researchers Claim Android Fragmentation Leaves Users Vulnerable to Attacks
February 8, 2013 8:37 AM
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Fragmentation may need users wondering who should be patching their Android devices
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.
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2/8/2013 9:11:33 PM
Yeah well Windows is pretty "fragmented" right now, that's for damn sure. We have Windows 7 and it's 4 or 5 different versions. Windows 8, same thing. Then we have Windows 8 "RT".
They all run the same basic code (just like Android), but have varying levels of features, security, etc etc.
Still doesn't stop it from being the best desktop OS out there for most people.
2/9/2013 4:56:35 AM
Different versions of Windows 7 or 8 don't create fragmentation in a way that affects the ability to run applications or effect security from the outside. The differences between XP, Vista, and 7 don't mean much for running applications either, backwards compatibility is one of Windows' cornerstones.
Fragmentation is very different with Android. It launched in a half-baked state and continues to rapidly improve. The new JB added security and UI smoothness that was basically catch-up with iOS and Windows Phone.
The differences between 2.x and 4.x are massive, much deeper than the differences between Windows XP and 7.
“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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