Tech

Google will improve security from Android 6 to Android 10

Android 12 is reaching more and more devices, although its market share among devices equipped with the Google operating system is still just over seven percent (7.3%). The gold medal, today, is for version 11, with 36.98%, followed by Android 10, with 24.12%, and Android 9 with 11.96%. The most recent version occupies the fourth position, followed by 8.1 and 6.0, with a 6.32% and a 2.84% respectively. And when it comes to Android vs. iOS, Google’s operating system maintains absolute supremacy, with 70.97%, compared to 28.27% for iOS.

Source: StatCounter Global Stats – Android Version Market Share

So, from what we see, 12 and 11 add up to a total of 44.28%. And why have I added the fees of these two versions in particular? Simple, because they are the two versions of Android that, periodically, review the permissions that we have granted to the installed apps, revoking them automatically if we have not used them for a while. A measure that may seem silly, but that actually allows us to reduce the display surface of the devices, and is therefore highly recommended.

And the good news is that, as we can read on PhoneArena, Google is so aware of the value and importance of this function, that consequently they are going to roll out that feature to all devices that have Android versions between 6 and 10, so that users of older devices also have this function that, being so simple, is undoubtedly so useful. The deployment, in addition, seems that it will be fast, since Google’s plans would go through completing it these days, within the first quarter of 2022 (yes, the one that ends tomorrow).

For that end, Android automatic permission rollback feature is included in Play Protect, one of the Google services. This is important, of course, because it indicates that the new function is not associated with an update of the operating system, something that can take much longer, and that in many cases could not be completed, if the manufacturer or the operator of the devices does not complete the deployment of their own versions of Android.

Permission abuse is one of the main techniques used by cybercriminals, to the point that, fortunately, users review them before installing any app. Little by little, but the times are long gone when a flashlight app (to give an example that was especially characteristic of those times) asked for permission to access your location, your contacts, your messages, your call history, etc.

Today cybercriminals are more subtle on this point, but permission abuse still existsand in more than one case we have seen apps that were originally legitimate, but that at some point (that is, in an update) have been modified with malicious intentions.

With this security update, Android will detect apps that have not been used for more than three months, and will revoke all the permissions of them. If later we want to use it again, we can grant them again, and this function can also be deactivated at will by the user. However, my recommendation is to keep it running, anything that closes possible doors to malware is a good option. And in this case, that Google has extended it to Android 6, seems to me a very praiseworthy action.

Android usage data from StatCounter

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