Some pretty interesting news in the world of telecommunications was released last week. As reported by Cillian O’Brien of CTV News on Friday, more than a billion Android devices are at risk of being hacked because they are no longer protected by security updates. Citing research from the U.K.’s Which? magazine, O’Brien reveals that 40 percent of Android users all across the world are no longer receiving security updates from the Google operating system.
Because of the absence of security updates, these Android users are now at risk of data theft, ransom demands and malware attacks. Experts at Which? conducted their own tests on a number of Android phones and tablets and discovered just how easily they can be hacked.
The tests involved asking antivirus lab AV Comparatives to try to infect five test phones with malware. Those devices were a Motorola X, a Samsung Galaxy A5, a Sony Experia Z2, a LG/Google Nexus 5 and a Samsung Galaxy S6. “It succeeded on every phone, including multiple infections on some,” reports O’Brien.
“Researchers tested a range of phones including models from Motorola, Samsung, Sony and LG/Google and found vulnerability to hacks including enabling personal information to be stolen, a hacker to take complete control over the phone or large bills for services that the phone owner hasn’t used themselves,” says the press release.
“Recently out-of-support devices won’t immediately have problems, but without security updates, the risk to the user of being hacked goes up exponentially. Generally speaking, the older the phone, the greater the risk.”
The findings of the Which? study were reported to Google. However, the response was considered to be insufficient in terms of reassurance that Android users would be supported through any issues. Android users who have devices that were released around 2012 or earlier are the most risk of being hacked, notes O’Brien. He also points out that Which? is calling for more transparency around how long updates for smart devices will be provided so consumers can make informed buying decisions.
Kate Bevan is a computing editor at Which?. “It’s very concerning that expensive Android devices have such a short shelf life before they lose security support – leaving millions of users at risk of serious consequences if they fall victim to hackers,” she is quoted as saying in O’Brien’s article, “Google and phone manufacturers need to be upfront about security updates – with clear information about how long they will last and what customers should do when they run out.”
O’Brien reports that Which? has provided readers with tips on how to update an Android device to a newer version of the operating system. “To see which version of Android a device is using, open the phone’s settings app, tap system, then advanced and then system update,” he informs. Which? notes that the majority of threats come from downloading apps from outside the Google Play store.
O’Brien also reports that the publication recommends that Android users who have anything older than Android 7.0 Nougat update their phone or tablet through the system update menu. Smartphone users who are unable to update their versions of Android will be at an increased risk of a hack, especially if they are running Android 4 or lower. The current version is Android 10, however, Android 9 (Android Pie) and Android 8 (Android Oreo) are still getting security updates.
“Imprezzio Marketing has been with MeloTel for 4 years and their service has been outstanding over the years. Their customer support team is always extremely helpful and always responds and resolves any issues that we have. Thank you MeloTel for providing us with such great service. READ MORE"
“When TK Enterprises found MeloTel 2 years ago, it was in a crisis situation. Our previous VoIP provider had left us in the lurch and within days, MeloTel had us back up and running and we’ve never looked back since. We started with VoIP services and have worked with them to bring our company’s technology levels up to be more cutting edge and competitive while reducing costs and mitigating risk the entire time. READ MORE"
“Benjamin Verde Incorporated has been a loyal MeloTel customer since 2013. We are able to provide a variety of Artist and Entertainment related solutions such as Web Hosting, Artist Marketing and Artist Funding to clients across Canada. By utilizing MeloTel’s robust products and services our agents are able to provide fast and efficient customer care to various radio stations, record companies, independent artist as well as popular international brands via Benjamin Verde’s VXCO.net portal. READ MORE"
“As the leaders in promotional advertising with over 25 years experience we strive to satisfy all of our clients’ needs when it comes to marketing them and their businesses. We go over and above to make sure that all of their advertising demands are met with no exceptions. MeloTel and Synergy have been in business together since providing exceptional VoIP and technical services. READ MORE"
“I have been a MeloTel customer since 2009 and wanted to tell you how much my whole office appreciates your services. Life becomes a lot easier when someone is there to help when we need it. That kind of service is why we will remain a loyal customer for many years to come. Thank you! READ MORE"
“The transition to MeloTel has been exceptional on a number of levels. Cost savings of more than 50% compared to our old traditional multi-line system is a welcome benefit, but the service and features are what we are most pleased with. MeloTel gives us the capability to enhance our service to clients with features like “Find Me-Follow Me” which allows us to answer our main office lines from anywhere, at any time with our smart phones or soft phones. READ MORE"
“Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute is a plastic surgery clinic, located in downtown Toronto. On site we have a fully functional, state of the art surgical facility. MeloTel assisted us when we went paperless a couple years ago in replacing and restructuring our computer hardware and network. They have been providing us with IT support ever since. Whether it be remote sessions that are required, or on site visits, the service MeloTel provides is always quick and efficient. READ MORE"
“Global Mentoring Solutions (GMS) is a North American based, white labelled outsourced help desk provider that partners with major ISPs, eLearning Support Providers and mid-market IT Service Providers. With MeloTel’s telephone infrastructure services GMS is able to provide support for over 8,000 technical support interactions per month! GMS has been relying on MeloTel’s expertise and professional support services since 2010. READ MORE"