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Is Your Android Safe From Malware? No!

27 May, 2017
Is Your Android Safe From Malwares

Cyber criminals are paying a lotta heed to your Androids, which translates to some bad news.

Malware affects 9 out of 10 Android devices worldwide.

Thus, we urge you to look into your phone and give it a through check, including reviewing which all apps you’ve installed on your phone, and where you sourced them from (which is a critical element of security).

It’s not even been five full months in this year, and yet, notorious minds have managed to circulate a flashy number of 7,50,000 apps – all aimed to disturb your handsets. This number is set to escalate by the end of the year to a drastic 3 million+ apps!
By which time you would encounter around 8,400 freshly-served malware every day!

The problem that basically underlines this cancer, is the lack of updates.

Android 7 which has been available in the market since August 2016, has reached a mere 4.9% of all Android smartphones.

That’s an important factoid. We looked at the numbers and researched around online, to find the percentage of infected apps, by Android version. Ready?
• Gingerbread (versions 2.3 – 2.3.7): 0.9%
• Ice Cream Sandwich (versions 4.0.3 – 4.0.4): 0.9%
• Jelly Bean (versions 4.1.x – 4.3): 10.1%
• KitKat (version 4.4): 20.0%
• Lollipop (versions 5.0 – 5.1): 32.0%
• Marshmallow (version 6.0): 31.2%
• Nougat (versions 7.0 – 7.1): 4.9%

As you can make out versions 4 thru 6 are the bedrock of vulnerability.

Android gives complete independence to its developers and users to customise the platform according to their requirements. In the same vein, device manufacturers and carriers also have tremendous freedom to develop the ecosystem to suit their needs and preferences.
The big OEMs are also slow in releasing the updates, as they take time to add layers and layers of bloatware in the guise of customizing the OS.
Hence, either the updates provided are very late or they are not provided at all.

And therein, lies the rub.

Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst for security firm BitDefender had forewarned us of this problem in an interview with CNET way back in 2014. Commenting on the increase in the accessibility of malware, he’d said “no coding is required to bind Android apps with malicious programs“, and “people look at phones more like phones, rather than intelligent computers“, that is to say people need to understand that their smart-devices are prone to the same malware grievances if not more like their computers.

 

Google had in fact, taken a stand on the use of ancient Android versions in the current crop of smart devices. In the interest of culling the fragmentation of Android OS at the manufacturer-level, and to plug the gaps festooning older versions of Android, Google had declared that they would not approve access to Google Apps and the Play Store (which Google presides over more actively), to newly-released Android devices that carried OS versions that were older than the then-current version. Additionally any existing devices that carried an old Android version, nine months after the latest Android OS was released, would also not be welcomed on the Play Store or be able to get Google’s own apps.

Given the increasing usage of Androids in every of walk of life, Security has come to occupy the forefront. It is an issue that needs due attention to make everyday activity safe for Android users. But Google can’t combat this alone.

Has the situation become insurmountable, or is there hope?

Well there is plenty of hope to salvage the situation. It would need a little bit of alertness, intelligence and perseverance on your part, to maintain the safety of your device and restraint in its use. So what’ve you gotta do?

  1. Immediately update your device(s) to the latest Android version available for them. OEMs adapt the new operating system updates and cover any exposures in the security framework, with each release.
  2. Download apps from trust-able legitimate source like Google Play Store.
  3. If your device runs on Android 2.2 or higher, then you have access to Google Malware Scanner. Install that, right away!
    Any app downloaded from outside the Play Store will be given a thorough check by this tool, and it’ll warn you of threats/vulnerabilities/infections.

See, that wasn’t so difficult! Stay updated, and stay safe. Please exhibit the same caution as you do with your Debit Card and your personal safety!