Are you an Android device user? If so, you should be extremely cautious not to become a victim of malware hiding in app stores. Security researchers at G Data say that 750,000 new Android malware apps have been discovered only in the first quarter of 2017. This means that approximately 8,400 new malware instances were unveiled every day.
Android obviously dominates the mobile market, with a share of around 72 percent. In Germany alone, around 67 percent of smartphone owners use such a device, as revealed by Statcounter statistics. By the end of 2017, the number of Android malware samples is expected to jump to 3.5 million.
Older Android Devices Don’t Get Updated to the Latest Version
Nonetheless, this year’s first quarter had fewer samples plaguing Android users than 2016. Considering the trends, though, the threat level for users remains high.
According to the company, the high number of malware samples and successful attacks is due to the fact that older devices don’t get updated to the latest version. Apparently, only 4.9 percent of smartphone and tablet users run Android 7 Nougat, which has been around since August last year. Over 31 percent of Android devices run 6.0 Marshmallow, 32% run Android 5.0 Lollipop, and 20 percent are on Android KitKat.
How Can Android Users Protect Their Devices?
G Data suggests that thorough protection is crucial to Android security:
A comprehensive security solution is becoming more and more important for smartphones and tablets. The security app should include a virus scanner that checks the mobile device for Trojans, viruses and other malware. Furthermore it should include surfing and phishing protection to secure users against dangerous emails and websites.
Android devices should be protected and should be treated as thoughtfully as Windows computers. Keeping both the operating system and the installed applications up-to-date is crucial. Running the latest Android version is essential to security. In addition to this necessity, new devices appear all the time, some of them low budget thus preferred by consumers. “Unlike with Windows, it is not clear with third party providers at the time of purchasing for how long a smartphone will be provided with security updates,” researchers add.
The often confusing and unclear update process of third party providers creates an unnecessary, yet avoidable security risk.
Related: The Security of Android 7 Nougat
The issue with the distribution of new Android versions and security updates is that the release and development chain of special versions for manufacturers and their products is too long, G Data believes. Even if Google provides patches third-party vendors still have to adapt them so that their partners can do the same. This procedure takes a long time to complete, or may not complete at all. Providers should rethink this chain and provide a solution suitable to the security of their customers.