Claims Of Android Phone Makers On Latest Patches Are Falling Apart

Claims Of Android Phone Makers On Latest Patches Are Falling Apart

After conducting a research that spanned two years on Android devices, Security Research Labs (SRL), a German security firm claims that many devices had what SRL call a "patch gap".

Some Android phone makers have been caught actively deceiving their customers about the security of their smartphones.

These smartphone makers have created a false sense of security among their users. While the phone's software may claim to be fully up-to-date, the researchers found security patches missing in most devices.

But for the Note 8, the SnoopSnitch identified several patches that were after the claimed patch level. SRL checked out the firmware on 1,200 Android handsets and looked for every patch disseminated in 2017. Here, I'm talking about regular updates and security patches. Out of the 1,200 phones that were tested by the firm, including devices from Google (the primary source for updates to Pixel phones), Samsung, HTC, Motorola, and TCL, the issue impacted even the flagship models from the likes of Samsung and Sony.

Device fragmentation has always been a challenge for Google when releasing updates for its Android platform, which is by far and away the most popular mobile software on the planet. "These layers of security-combined with the tremendous diversity of the Android ecosystem-contribute to the researchers' conclusions that remote exploitation of Android devices remains challenging". The researchers calculated the average number of missing patches for each patch level over the year for the brands.

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Phones from TCL and ZTE were missing four or more of the advertised security patches. In some cases, these chipsets were found to include bugs and as a result, vendors had to rely on chipset makers to roll out patches before implementing OS software updates.

The report on Wired points out that this "patch gap" is a serious problem where in some cases vendors indicated to users that the phone had all of Android's security patches, when it was missing more than a dozen in reality. That could be due to the fact that some cheaper phones using less expensive chips are more likely to miss updates. "We found several vendors that didn't install a single patch but changed the patch date forward by several months".

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HTC, Huawei, LG and Motorola all had between three and four skipped patches while Xiaomi, OnePlus and Nokia skipped, on average, between one and three security updates. Security updates are one of many layers used to protect Android devices and users. Google says that some of the devices in the study may not have been Android certified devices, which means that Google's standards of security would not apply to them.

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