A recently published Which? reveals that there are more than a billion Android devices at risk of being attacked by hackers. The British consumer rights association indicates that the devices in question have older versions of Google’s operating system and no longer receive security updates, thus increasing the likelihood of a cyber attack.
According to Google data, two out of five Android devices do not receive updates. The smartphones, tablets and other devices in question have OS versions prior to 8.0. The tests carried out by Which? they also demonstrate that smartphones, tablets and other equipment with outdated versions of the OS are still sold on e-commerce platforms like Amazon.
To discover the threats to which these types of devices may be exposed, Which? tested five smartphones with older versions of Android: a Motorola X, a Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 and a Sony Xperia Z2 recently purchased through Amazon and also an LG / Google Nexus 5 and a Samsung Galaxy S6.
Results of the test carried out by Which?
The consumer rights association found that the vast majority of smartphones have no protection against malware threats like BlueFrag or Joker, or against malicious cryptocurrency mining software. In addition, all smartphones with an OS version prior to 8.0 are only partially supported by the Play Store’s security mechanisms.
In line with the revelations made by the Which? Investigation, a report from the National Vulnerability Database shows that Android was Google’s operating system where the most vulnerabilities were registered in 2019, 2017 and 2016. In the previous year, they were found, in all, 414 security breaches.
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According to Dimitri Galov, malware analyst at Kaspersky’s Global Research & Analysis Team, at Kaspersky Academy Partner’s Summit in 2019, 35% of Android threats found by the company fall into the Adware category, followed by the software family malicious Trojans. In May this year, Kaspersky had already revealed that, in 2018, the use of Trojan-Droppers grew from 8.63% to 17.21%. Malware is used to bypass system protection and deposit different types of malicious software: from banking trojans to ransomware.
Not even the Play Store can be immune to the influence of hackers, as they are able to create applications that appear to be harmless, as well as almost faithful “copies” of legitimate apps that can elude the most unwary users. The scenario is even worse when it comes to applications from third party sources. Although the “open source universe” opens up many possibilities in terms of development, the possibility of installing software from third-party sources makes users more vulnerable to the actions of malicious hackers.