More than half of all Android smartphones and tablets are running with unpatched vulnerabilities leaving them open to malware attacks, according to Duo Security.
The mobile security firm's X-Ray app provides a vulnerability assessment of Android devices, and analysis of its deployment on over 20,000 smartphones and tablets has highlighted the extent of the problem.
“As carriers are very conservative in rolling out patches to fix vulnerabilities in the Android platform, users’ mobile devices often remain vulnerable for months and even years,” wrote Jon Oberheide, co-founder of Duo Security on a company blog.
Android security is fast becoming a critical issue for the platform.
Earlier this year, security firm McAfee reported detecting a 10-fold increase in the volumes of Android malware, compared to 2011 levels.
Meanwhile, security researchers have recently highlighted that many users are slow to update their handset, even when told there are security risks.
This is creating the perfect storm for malware writers: a popular marketplace with loose controls that allows malware to flourish; carriers that are reluctant to disseminate patches over the air; and users that take little interest in updating their devices.
The industry had performed poorly so far, when it comes to protecting Android users, added Oberheide.
“We feel [our estimate of at least 50 percent of devices running unpatched] is actually a fairly conservative estimate,” he warned.
For more insight into some of the major security issues affecting businesses make sure you sign up to the V3 Security Summit taking place on Tuesday 25 September which includes high-level speakers such as Mimecast chief scientist Nathaniel Borenstein and cryptographer Bruce Schneier.
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