More than a billion phones and tablets Android are likely to be hacked, putting users at risk of potentially very dangerous cyber attacks. This is because two out of five users with Android phones no longer receive security patches. This puts them at risk of “data theft, ransom demands and other malware attacks”.
Android phones run on software created by Google, just like an iPhone is powered by Apple code. Google regularly updates phones with its operating system, via security patches, to prevent hackers from exploiting any bugs that can be created. But older models of Android phones stop receiving these updates, thus putting their users in danger.
The risks of hacker attacks on old Android smartphones
Without an update provided by a patch, a hacker can exploit a hole in the phone’s security and steal sensitive data on the device. Among the devices at real risk are models from Google, LG, Motorola, Samsung and Sony, many of which are still available for purchase.
Anyone using Android smartphones released in the 2012 or earlier is particularly at risk. “It is very worrying that expensive Android devices have such a short lifespan before they lose security support,” he said Kate Bevan, industry expert. They leave millions of users at risk of serious consequences if they fall victim to hackers. Google and phone makers need to be upfront on security updates, with clear information on how long they will last and what customers should do when they run out. The government also needs to push ahead with planned legislation to ensure manufacturers are much more transparent about security updates for smart devices and their impact on consumers. “