A ton of Android smartphone users might need to get a new smartphone in order to secure themselves from the major chip vulnerability which has affected a huge number of devices. In response to this, Google has updated its systems and products to protect its users from data theft.
Despite this, a large chunk of Android smartphones manufactured by LG and Samsung are, and always be stuck on an older version of Android. All these smartphones are at risk of this flaw in the chip.
Google issued a statement, saying that Android smartphone or tablets which have installed the latest security update are protected from the security flaw which affected Intel, ARM and AMD chips. The statement sounds very assuring, but also means that smartphone and tablets which have the unsupported OS version, won’t be protected. Which translates to the fact that there can be millions of users that are stuck on the older version of Android. The only way they can ensure safety for themselves by replacing their handset with newer models.
Google, in an attempt to reassure its concerned users also said that “On the Android platform, exploitation has been shown to be difficult and limited on the majority of Android devices.”
Android OS is fragmented ( in a notorious way ) because it is used on a very wide range of devices which are manufactured by different manufacturers. Manufacturers who often make tweaks to promote their own services and products. Due to the extra work involved, it might take a long time for such companies to roll out the security update to its customers.
On the other hand, smartphones like Nexus, and Pixel, which run the stock and pure version of Android, get the updates as soon as they’re out. A survey revealed that as of 11th December 2k17, around 20% of all Android users are stuck on an OS version which no longer receives updates from Google. This list includes Gingerbread, Ice cream Sandwich, Jelly Bean, and KitKat. All of these were released more than four years ago.
The tech giant also revealed that more than 2 billion devices actively run on Android platform as of May 2017. This figure suggests that hundreds and millions of smartphone and tablet devices are exposed to hackers and need to be replaced by their owners if they want to ensure safety.