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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RE: apple not fragmented????
2/9/2013 5:37:08 PM
I have an iPod Touch 4G sitting in a closet, because it doesn't have enough memory to actually run iOS5 properly.
It regularly idles with only 8 or so megabytes of memory free. (Good luck writing forum posts on a browser that UNLOADS the page when you switch tabs to copy a link.)
My "Usage logs" are full of page upon page of OutOfMemory failures.
Safari also crashed all the time -- and sometimes takes more than one try to get it to STOP crashing on open. My record: 14 crashes on open, within approximately 1 minute, before it finally stayed open on the 15th try.
Open... oh hey, it stayed open this time!
(I seem to recalling it crash again 5 minutes later.)
My response to the Android fragmentation: if the un-upgraded phones get exploited where there's a fix available, the manufacturers and carriers should be legally liable for any damage.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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