Researchers Suggest Phone Makers Mislead Consumers About Security Patches
Security Research Labs says Android phone makers often miss security patches but still tell owners the phones are up-to-date. Researchers Karsten Nohl and Jakob Lell examined the code of some 1,200 phones from more than a dozen phone makers for every security patch released during 2017. They discovered phones from nearly all makers missed at least some patches. Phones from Google, Sony, and Samsung ranked fairly well, missing an average of just one patch. Phones from Xiaomi, Nokia, and OnePlus missed between one and three patches per update, while devices from HTC, Motorola, LG, and Huawei missed three to four, and phones from TCL (Alcatel) and ZTE often missed more than four patches per update. High-end devices with processors from Samsung or Qualcomm were more likely to updated properly, while low-cost devices with processors from MediaTek were less likely to be updated properly. Nohl and Lell say what's worse than the missed patches are the phone makers' claims to the contrary. "We find that there's a gap between patching claims and the actual patches installed on a device. It's small for some devices and pretty significant for others," said Nohl to Wired. "We found several vendors that didn’t install a single patch but changed the patch date forward by several months. That’s deliberate deception." The researchers claim this lulls consumers into a false sense of security, though they admit that hacking into Android phones through any of the missed patches is a difficult task at best. In response to the data, Google argued that not all the devices researched were Android certified, and that modern Android phones have other security measures in place to protect them. "Security updates are one of many layers used to protect Android devices and users," said Scott Roberts, Android product security lead at Google. "Built-in platform protections, such as application sandboxing, and security services, such as Google Play Protect, are just as important." Still, Google said it would work with Security Research Labs to investigate Nohl and Lell's findings.
Jan 14, 2021
Samsung today officially unveiled its Galaxy S21 series of flagship phones for 2021. All three models sport a distinctive new "Contour Cut Camera" design where the metal frame extends around one corner to surround the rear cameras.
Aug 11, 2021
Samsung today announced new smartwatches and Bluetooth earbuds: the Galaxy Watch4 series and Galaxy Buds2. Both feature a long list of small improvements over their predecessors.
Nov 7, 2019
T-Mobile today announced plans to offer three new programs offering 5G service for free to certain groups, or cheaply for everyone else. The company is promising to launch the programs when and if it is allowed to merge with Sprint.
Jun 22, 2020
Apple has revealed iOS 14, which brings a number of new features to the OS for Apple's iPhones: Widgets : Apple has promoted Widgets to the main home screen. Just as Android has always allowed, you can now mix re-sizable widgets in with your app icons.
Dec 3, 2018
Google today provided details about the December security patch for Android devices, as well as fixes specifically being applied to its Pixel phones. Google discovered a number of vulnerabilities in Android's code, some of which could lead to remote attacks.