Security updates for Android devices are a bit hit and miss, and that’s putting it diplomatically.

One of the main reasons why the Android operating is so exposed to hackers is because device manufacturers do not deliver patches regularly to their customers.

There’s a widespread sense that smart phone manufacturers load Android onto their devices, ship them out and then barely give timely security updates a second thought.

To address this issue, Android creator Google revealed earlier this year it was going to update its agreement with smart phone manufacturers who use Android to roll out security updates regularly.

The announcement was greeted with applause but there were no details until now.
  • A leaked but unverified copy of a new contract between Google and smart phone manufacturers reveals some terms of the agreement that device manufacturers have to comply with. 
  • If they don’t, they risk losing their Google certification for upcoming Android devices.

Apparently the terms of the new agreement include:
  • Android smartphone manufacturers will now be required to regularly roll out security updates for at least two years. 
  • This means all smartphones/devices that are launched after January 31st, 2018 and used by more than 100,000 people. 
  • The manufacturers have to release at least four security updates in the first year following a smartphone's launch. 
  • For the second year, the number of updates is unspecified. 
  • The contract also stipulates that the manufacturers must not delay patch updates for security vulnerabilities for more than 90 days. 
  • In other words, the minimum requirement of the contract is a security patch update every quarter.

A Google spokesperson implied the majority of smart phone manufacturers are already running a security update from the last 90 days. 

Raison d'être 

Android is an open source operating system which allows for full customisation. This is widely perceived as being less secure because malware is not automatically filtered out. 

The new Google terms for manufacturers aims to solve this. But in the fast moving world of malware development and operating system attacks, even 90 days seems a long time.
 

Android hack warning signs 

It can sometimes be difficult to know if your Android device has been infected with malware but here are some at-a-glance tell-tale signs:
  • Your battery doesn’t last long
  • Your data usage has increased – malware transmits data from your device to a third party
  • You get lots of pop-up ads
  • You receive pop-ups that link you to web pages that ask for your personal data

Also watch out for:
  • Fake apps, such as those for betting or shopping, offering you discounts or deals to draw you in.

Also check BullGuard Mobile Security. It does the security job for you and gives you blissful peace of mind when it comes to locking down your Android device.