Android Patches and User Responsibility
Google’s 2011 Gingerbreak patch beefed up security, and will catch RootSmart on most phones, however, older models are still at risk, according to Professor Xuxian Jiang. Platforms 1.5 (Cupcake), 1.6 (Donut), 2.1 (Eclair), 2.2 (Froyo), 2.3 and 2.3.2, API Level 9 (Gingerbread) are all vulnerable. Together, these platforms make up over 37% of Android users, so this is no small concern.
Your best bet, whether you’re operating on an older platform or not, is to follow responsible mobile phone and tablet security practices when choosing and downloading new apps for your phone.
- ◊ Use a trusted source: If you download apps from a trusted source, such as the Android app store, it is highly unlikely that you will end up with any malware. If you have not downloaded from an app source previously, check for other user reviews of both the app and the source to avoid known problems. Check out the publisher as well, before downloading.
- ◊ App abilities: Just what is the app capable of? Check the permissions to make sure you’re not giving a simple photo organization app permission to access your contact list, for example. When in doubt, don’t download.
- ◊ Patch when necessary: Keep up with security updates, and your phone will be less vulnerable to malware.
RootSmart and Android
Whether you have a smartphone or a laptop, viruses can be a real problem, and they’re getting worse every day. While you can expect scanning algorithms like Google’s Bouncer to detect some malware, there will always be some code that’s a few steps ahead. If you want your phone to remain secure, keep it secure by following the practices outlined above.
Lockheimer, H. Android and Security. (2012). Official Google Mobile Blog. Accessed February 14, 2012.
Android Developers. Platform Versions. (2012). Accessed February 14, 2012.
Jiang, X. RootSmart. (2012). North Carolina State University. Accessed February 14, 2012.
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