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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 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.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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