Android lovers are taking quite the confidence hit this morning, as a new study partially funded by Google and conducted by researchers at the University of Cambridge has revealed that a startling 87 percent of Android devices are vulnerable to potential security flaws. The study examined more than 20,000 Android devices from a variety of different manufacturers and carriers, according to Engadget.
Alastair R. Beresford, a member of the research team, asserts that many manufacturers simply don’t issue necessary security patches with any sort of regularity, leaving devices open to malware attacks. "Many smartphones are sold on 12–24 month contracts," the study states, "and yet our data shows few Android devices receive many security updates, with an overall average of just 1.26 updates per year, leaving devices unpatched for long periods of time."
Google's own Nexus devices were found to be the safest of all Android handsets currently available, with LG coming in second place, followed closely by Motorola. "Our hope is that by quantifying the problem, we can help people when choosing a device," adds Beresford, "and that this, in turn, will provide an incentive for other manufacturers and operators to deliver updates." As noted by Forbes, while this study "concerned itself with vulnerabilities that gave an attacker significant permissions such as root level access," its findings should only be considered as "being at the lower end of the possible outcomes," which is even worse news for Android faithfuls.