Google Opts To Enhance Mobile Device Security

Security threats on Android mobile devices are unfortunately nothing new, but Google is now taking steps to ease concerns over the security of its Nexus phones and tablets.

Security threats on Android mobile devices are unfortunately nothing new, but Google is now taking steps to ease concerns over the security of its Nexus phones and tablets.

The company announced plans to push out monthly platform and security updates to Nexus mobile devices. This will come in addition to any normally scheduled platform updates.

The first update in the new security initiative took place on Wednesday (Aug. 5) and was rolled out on all Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10 and Nexus Player devices.

This particular security update contained fixes for vulnerabilities stemming from Stagefright, a media playback tool for Android that allows remote code execution to infiltrate the device and steal data using the permissions. As many as 950 million Android phones were found susceptible to data theft after the six critical vulnerabilities were exposed.

The threat was discovered last week by mobile security expert Joshua Drake, who explained that the data theft attack, which can be initiated by a multimedia message sent to an Android phone, is so crippling Android users would have a sparse chance of shielding themselves against the attack.

Once the device has been hooked, the hacker could walk away with audio-video files, pictures stored on SD cards and even remotely control the device’s Bluetooth.

“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,” Adrian Ludwig, Lead Engineer for Android Security, and Venkat Rapaka, Director of Nexus Product Management, said in a post on the Android Official Blog.

“Security continues to be a top priority and monthly device updates are yet another tool to make and keep Android users safe,” they concluded.

It seems this is not the only step Google is taking to combat Android devices being looked upon as less secure than those from Apple and BlackBerry.

The company recently announced a partnership with privacy-centric phone maker Silent Circle to help combat the growing need for companies to protect their data beyond the conventional work devices.

The partnership between the two companies aims at monetizing this fast-emerging problem with a new version of Silent Circle’s Blackphone. While the existing versions of which are capable of encrypting calls, text and data, the new version would come loaded with Google’s Android for Work software that compartmentalizes personal and professional use and lets corporate users access productivity apps like Calendar, Docs, Sheets and Gmail, among others, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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