Regardless of what side of the fence you happen to sit on when it comes down to the old and rather tiresome Android vs. iOS debate, the fact remains that each of the mobile operating systems has definite benefits over the other. The flip side is also true that each of the firmware comes with a definitive set of issues that can, on occasions, deter users from purchasing a device that runs them. One of the oldest myths that still seems to get airtime is that iOS is security tight, but we have seen that disproven on multiple occasions. However, even though Apple still has a little work to do with iOS, the latest reports suggest that Android users are definitely at risk.
To further add to the security woes of Android, DuoSecurity, a company specializing in protecting organizations, has released preliminary results of their X-Ray project as well as presenting their findings at the United Summit Conference in the Bay Area. For those who may not be in the know, X-Ray is essentially a mobile app which, when installed onto an Android device performs a number of tests in the background that assesses the overall vulnerability of the device. The beauty of the X-Ray app is that it can actually run and detect vulnerabilities that are known but remain unpatched, potentially allowing a total device takeover.
As part of their dedication to seeking out and finding these vulnerabilities, DuoSecurity publicly released the X-Ray app to allow general users to install and run on their own Android devices. In the time since release, the company has collected and collated results from over twenty thousand Android powered tablets and smartphones, with more than 50% of those tested devices containing unpatched and potentially fatal vulnerabilities. One of the main issue is that it has been proven that networks are notoriously slow in releasing security updates for Android, effectively meaning that a user could sit for weeks or months running a version of the operating system that is vulnerable to attacks.
When you actually take the time to consider what the security experts are telling us through their research, it paints a rather worrying picture for Android users. Without using an app such as X-Ray, the extremely dangerous vulnerabilities can exist on the device without the user having any knowledge of it, but unfortunately, the situation regarding updates doesn’t look like it is going to change anytime soon.