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Android Security

Wireless Carriers Put On Notice About Providing Regular Android Security Updates 171

msm1267 writes "Activist Chris Soghoian, who in the past has targeted zero-day brokers with his work, has turned his attention toward wireless carriers and their reluctance to provide regular device updates to Android mobile devices. The lack of updates leaves millions of Android users sometimes upwards of two revs behind in not only feature updates, but patches for security vulnerabilities. 'With Android, the situation is worse than a joke, it’s a crisis,' said Soghoian, principal technologies and senior policy analyst with the American Civil Liberties Union. 'With Android, you get updates when the carrier and hardware manufacturers want them to go out. Usually, that’s not often because the hardware vendor has thin [profit] margins. Whenever Google updates Android, engineers have to modify it for each phone, chip, radio card that relies on the OS. Hardware vendors must make a unique version for each device and they have scarce resources. Engineers are usually focused on the current version, and devices that are coming out in the next year.'"
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Wireless Carriers Put On Notice About Providing Regular Android Security Updates

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  • by AuMatar ( 183847 ) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:02PM (#42789995)

    Wouldn't matter. The problem is more political than technical. Carriers are the ones who push updates, and they don't care especially in the US. Check EU versions of US phones and you'll see many more updates that never make it out here.

    Some of that is for a good reason. Carriers put phones through very rigorous acceptance testing that takes weeks to finish. It tests the phone as a whole, not individual modules. Trying to push out partial updates would screw with their process and cost tens of millions. It would also lead to people having versions of modules that were never tested together, an increased possibility of bricking your phone. When your device is seen as a consumer utility that just really isn't an option.

"More software projects have gone awry for lack of calendar time than for all other causes combined." -- Fred Brooks, Jr., _The Mythical Man Month_