Are Android phone makers lying to you about important security updates?

Security Research Labs Android patch study

At the bottom of the list were Chinese brands TCL and ZTE, all of whose phones had four or more missing updates.

It found that in some cases, Android smartphone makers allegedly told users that smartphone's software has been updated with monthly patches when it hasn't. The firmware upgrades sometimes delete few critical and important patches from your phone accidentally after you update your phone.

Even though Google has managed to establish Android as the top smartphone operating system in the world, it has failed on a major front that ensures the security of your smartphone. Compared to flagships, cheaper phones are found to be skipping more patches, which also tend to use cheaper chips.

Taking up less than 5 MB, the app is quick to download without using much data, and takes up minimal space on users' phones.

NOhl said in an interview on Thursday that, the patching problems that occur on smartphones can be blamed due to the complexity of the Android ecosystem and poor quality control.

Security patches for Android phones have been historically hard for Google to deploy, due to the plethora of smartphone manufacturers using the OS.

The whole process that takes place during the test may result in omitting a security patch. Google told Wired some of the devices in the report weren't Android certified, and therefore aren't tested for security and performance. For example, Samsung's 2016 J3 claimed to have every 2017 Android patch installed but in fact when 12 weren't actually installed.

Android and missing security patches: A report claim OEMS have been lying to users about which security patch update is installed on their phone.

"It's small for some devices and pretty significant for others", says Nohl, a well-known security researcher and Security Research Labs (SRL) founder.

Keep in mind that security patches have to be executed on multiple individual levels from the phone manufacturer to the OS maker (Google) to the component makers as well. Cheaper chips from the lower-end suppliers missed the most patches with a less well-maintained Android ecosystem. "That's deliberate deception, and it's not very common". For those curious about their own devices, Security Research Labs is releasing an update to its Android app, Snoopsnitch, which checks to ensure your device has been patched as many times as it should have been.

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