Android smartphone owners are warned that their new devices can put them at serious risk from cyberattacks and malicious threats. This is the latest news from the consumer experts at Which? who say devices are being sold on long-term contracts that no longer receive critical updates to protect them. Most Android manufacturers offer Android upgrades for two or three years, but networks sell phones that may not receive these important patches when a customer’s contract expires.
The problem is so bad that Which? says about 48 percent of available phones could lose security support before their contract term expires.
O2 is one of the most worrying networks as it has 36 month offerings.
But not only O2 sells a whole range of devices with other cell phone dealers that could lose security support before the contract expires. In addition to O2, Carphone Warehouse (52%), Mobiles.co.uk (50%), Vodafone (50%), Three (40%), Mobile Phones Direct were the proportion of contract phones that had similar problems (38%) and EE (33%).
To make matters worse, which ones? Researchers say they have come across a number of popular phones whose support will expire after less than a year of contract.
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These included the Motorola G8 Power (sold by mobiles.co.uk and Vodafone), Oppo Find X2 Lite (sold by EE, Mobile Phones Direct, mobiles.co.uk, O2 and Vodafone) and Samsung’s Galaxy S9 (sold by Vodafone) .
Although the lack of long-term updates on Android is nothing new, which ones? says it is the lack of transparency of networks that is most worrying.
Four in ten (40%) smartphone owners believe that if they purchase a contract phone, they will receive security updates during the contract period.
In response to the report, EE and Three stated that they denied some of the cell phone models included in the analysis and stated that these phones would be supported until the end of the contract period.
Vodafone added that “Support generally goes beyond the time period you specify”. However: which one? believes that his research has shown that these phones may no longer be supported before the contracts expire.
It is clearly of concern that once security updates stop being released, phones will become easy targets for hackers who can use malicious software to take over devices and even install apps that premium service owners subscribe to without their permission.
Speaking of Kate Bevan’s report, which one? Computing Editor said, “Cell phones without the latest security support could leave consumers vulnerable to hacking for the duration of contracts.
“The government’s Product Safety Act must ensure that manufacturers include the date by which a device will be supported – and that this information is clearly displayed on retailers’ websites. Devices must be supported across manufacturers for at least five years so that consumers are better protected. “