Saturday, 01 April 2017 16:32

Android’s Inherent Security Flaws Mean Users Need To Fortify Their Mind As Well As Their Mobile


When it comes to enterprise-level security, Android is still lagging behind Apple’s iOS platform. Android’s laissez-faire attitude that has allowed independent developers to flourish and fill Google Play with a diverse range of apps is also the attitude that has made blanket security protocols difficult.

Indeed, as Galen Gruman, Executive Editor of InfoWorld, pointed out in his discussion of Android vs. Apple in business, the latter’s “tight hold” over the app store has made malware attacks a rare occurrence. In contrast, he notes that malware attacks within Google Play are now so common that barely anyone notes them as “newsworthy”. In fact, a 2014 report published by Forbes found that 97 percent of mobile malware was on Android.


In addition to less stringent checks, Gruman also notes that new versions of iOS are deployed to virtually all devices within a month of its release. However, this isn’t the case for Android devices. As Gruman points out, only 8 percent of active devices had received Marshmallow (6.0 version of the Android operating system) six months after it was released, which made securing the devices a tough task. With device manufacturers and network carriers all having control over the software deployed to users, Android security is fragmented and complicated, especially when compared to iOS security, where Apple has sole responsibility.

Lack of Cohesion Makes Android Users Vulnerable

Perhaps the most obvious example of Android security vulnerabilities came in March 2017, when the Check Point Mobile Research Team released the findings of recent research.According to the team’s security review, at least six Android devices from different manufacturers had been infected with out-of-the-box preinstalled malware.  Even before the devices had been sold in shops, security experts found instances of Loki and Slocker malware on devices from a range of manufacturers, including the Galaxy Note 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8, Asus Zenfone 2, LG G4, Nexus 5 and 5X and Xiaomi Mi 4i and Redmi. This chimes with Gruman’s assessment that the lack of cohesion between Android operators (manufacturers, carriers and Google itself) is exposing users to more malware threats. Although Google has started to address the issue, Gruman believes that Android devices should receive updates faster so that devices across the board are better protected. However, with this process unlikely to happen overnight, it’s up to users to arm themselves against the latest threats.

Being able to carry out business transactions and processes on the move is fantastic, but if Android is your operating system of choice, then knowledge of security issues is crucial. Indeed, aside from the bit of data presented above, research by Hiscox has found that cyber attacks on small businesses increased by 25 percent between 2011 and 2015.


Focusing on issues such as malware, the Hiscox Complete Guide to Cyber Security highlights that 74 percent of small businesses had a cybercrime-related incident in 2015. When you combine this threat of attack with the inherent security weaknesses of Android as a platform, it’s quite clear that business users need to become vigilant against the threat of online attacks and the shortcomings mobile platform security. One of the best ways to do this is by using knowledge of cyber security as the first line of defence.

Staying Safe is a Matter of Understanding the Risks

What the Hiscox guide notes is that knowledge of key threats and concepts such as phishing, data protection and removal of malware were overlooked by small businesses. Moreover, the company’s research has shown that 46 percent of businesses surveyed lacked an understanding of the nature of contemporary cybersecurity threats. In an effort to address this shortfall, the Hiscox Guide to Cyber Security breaks down some of the basic areas small businesses need to focus on, including security, prevention and insurance.

Using the guide, small businesses owners and employees can access a knowledge hub that contains links to resources addressing these three areas of focus. For those with an interest in Android devices and security, the hub offers a wealth of information about malware and practical steps to avoid inadvertently infecting your systems with it. Although this information can’t address the shortcomings of the system as a whole, it will increase the level of protection both businesses and individuals have when using Android for business.

Using mobile devices has become much more practical over the last decade, but that doesn’t mean users can simply rely on manufacturers, developers and Google itself when it comes to security. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding malware issues, it’s important to fortify your mind as well as your devices.

Author : Darla Sutrich

Source : androidheadlines.com

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