Less than three weeks after pushing Android 4.4.3 to users of its Nexus devices, Google released a new version of the OS that incorporates a patch for a serious vulnerability identified in the OpenSSL cryptographic library.
Android 4.4.4 factory images using build version KTU84P were released for Nexus 4, 5, 7 and 10 late Thursday.
A post on the Sprint community website noted that the update contains security fixes and will be rolled out to devices in batches.
Sascha Prueter, an Android program manager at Google, shed some light on the changes in the new version when answering a question received from a user on his Google+ page.
The update is "primarily addressing CVE-2014-0224," he said.
CVE-2014-0224 is the tracking number in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database for a serious security flaw found recently in OpenSSL, one of the most popular libraries for supporting the SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and TLS (Transport Layer Security) secure communications protocols.
The CVE-2014-0224 vulnerability can be exploited by a man-in-the-middle attacker to decrypt and modify traffic between a client and a server that both use OpenSSL, if the server uses OpenSSL 1.0.1 or a newer version. The flaw was patched in OpenSSL 1.0.1h released on June 5.
According to a recent scan by security vendor Qualys, around 14 percent of the Internet's most popular 155,000 SSL-enabled websites are vulnerable to possible attacks exploiting CVE-2014-0224.
OpenSSL is bundled with Android and the library is used by the Google Chrome browser, as well as other apps, on the mobile platform.