Android device makers to release monthly security fixes

They're starting now with a fix for a major vulnerability called Stagefright

Google, Samsung and LG will move to a monthly security patch release for Android devices after a range of software vulnerabilities were recently disclosed.

Google, Samsung and LG will move to a monthly security patch release for Android devices after a range of software vulnerabilities were recently disclosed.

Google, Samsung and LG will start to issue monthly security patches for Android devices, taking a cue from the PC industry after critical vulnerabilities put hundreds of millions of smartphone users at risk.

Security experts have warned for years that Android devices receive critical updates from manufacturers either too slowly or not at all. Phones and tablets have been increasingly targeted by hackers looking to steal data or defraud users.

Google's Nexus devices will get monthly over-the-air security patches, said Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

"Nexus devices will continue to receive major updates for at least two years and security patches for the longer of three years from initial availability, or 18 months from last sale of the device via the Google Store, he wrote in a blog post.

The first update, released on Wednesday, will include a patch for a severe vulnerability called Stagefright, he said.

Most Android devices are vulnerable to Stagefright, which can compromise a device merely through delivery of a specially crafted multimedia message (MMS). An attacker needs only to know the victim's phone number.

Google has provided manufacturers with monthly notices about security fixes for the last three years, Ludwig wrote. But that doesn't mean they necessarily distributed those updates to users, which might have required cooperation from mobile operators.

"Samsung is currently in conversation with carriers around the world to implement the new approach," the company wrote in a blog post Wednesday. "In collaboration with carriers and partners, more details about the specific models and timelines will be released soon."

Samsung has also fast-tracked updates for its Galaxy device line to fix Stagefright.

At Black Hat, Ludwig said at LG has made a similar commitment. The move to monthly patching mirrors one made by Microsoft in 2003 after it grappled with an increasing number of operating systems flaws that worried security experts.

Microsoft still issues patches on the second Tuesday of the month, a day know as Patch Tuesday. For dangerous flaws, the company occasionally deviates from the schedule and issues an emergency patch. In 2009, Adobe Systems also moved to regular patch schedule after its products were increasingly targeted by hackers.

(Lucian Constantin contributed to this report.)

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobile securityGooglelgsamsung

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?