New analysis has recommended that a couple of billion Android gadgets worldwide are weak to hacking.

A report from Which? rifled by means of knowledge supplied by Google, discovering 40% of Android customers worldwide aren’t receiving important safety updates. These customers are at larger danger of information theft, ransomware and a bunch of different cyberattacks.

Which? researchers examined a variety of affected telephones and tablets – together with fashions nonetheless out there to buy by way of prime on-line marketplaces – and located they have been extremely weak to a variety of malware.

Though the newest iterations of the Android operating system are supported by security updates, using a version any less recent than Android 8 (released in August 2017) comes with a level of risk, the report claims.

According to Which?, anyone still using an Android phone released in 2012 or earlier should be especially concerned, since it’s likely these devices lack the many security enhancements Google has rolled out since.

Android security risks

Which? is now calling for greater transparency around the extent of security support and claims the industry must do a better job of guiding customers once security updates have dried up.

“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,” said Kate Bevan, the company’s Computing Editor.

“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.”

The UK government recently took steps to ensure users of connected devices are better protected – a measure Which? applauds.

New rules stipulate manufacturers of IoT devices must provide a point of contact for vulnerability reports and explicitly state the minimum length of time a device will receive security updates.

In the interim, Which? has added warnings to relevant smartphone reviews and issued the following advice to users of older models:

– Check whether your device qualifies for an update
– Be careful what you download
– Watch what you click on
– Back up your data
– Get mobile antivirus

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