Android is secure, but your phone probably isn’t. 3.5 million pieces of malware in 2017 means that matters.

When you’re king of the hill you are a target for everyone and everything. Sometimes that’s great — LG’s G6 is an awesome phone that wants to compete with the Galaxy S8 because the GS8 will be the king of the Android hill. Other times it’s not, and security company G Data takes a look at one of those not-so-great times.

When you’re on top you are a target.

Android’s market dominance means it is the main target for people writing malware. Just like Windows for your PC, the fact that more than 70% of smartphone users worldwide use Android means it’s where you want to focus if you’re trying to steal user data. There is certainly malware for iOS, and probably Windows 10 Mobile, but to increase the odds, Android is the target.

G Data forecasts that it will see 3.5 million cases of malware for Android in 2017. A look at the numbers since 2012 shows that it’s not making an outrageous claim, either.

Image courtesy G Data.

There’s a reason why malware is successful with Android, and it’s one that still hasn’t been addressed: most phones are using old software and haven’t been patched against it.

Google does a lot of work to make Android secure and keep it that way. It pays people to find security exploits, works with hardware vendors like Qualcomm or NVIDIA to fix them if needed, then writes a patch that can be injected into the existing version with no fuss. If you have a Pixel or Nexus or BlackBerry product, you’ll then get these patches. If you have any other phone you roll the dice and hope the people who made it care enough.

More Androids run Gingerbread (2010) than run the current version.

Forget about the Pixel or a Nexus for a minute. They have to be updated because there is no way Google can say that these updates are really important if they aren’t. Google may be silly sometimes, but not that silly. But BlackBerry? It’s hard for me to imagine any scenario where you can set the bar lower than using BlackBerry as the example.

BlackBerry (the software company from Canada) is a company that operated a month away from bankruptcy for a year or so and has found a way to stay afloat and reinvent itself. It’s not in the black (pun intended) because it can ship a security patch 30 days after it received it. Security may be BlackBerry’s “thing” but as far as resources, Asian phone manufacturers dwarf it. My take is that it does it because it has found a way to streamline the process and not have to spend hundreds (or more) man-hours on the patches. And whether a model sells a million units or 50 million units, you’re only writing one patch.

Android 7.1 is on 0.5% of the 1.5 billion+ Android phones that are in use worldwide. The number with the May 2017 patch is likely to be close to this because the only phones that have it are running 7.1. And remember, the company that made your phone has had that patch for at least a month before it was released. Even worse: more phones are running Android 2.3.3 — which was released in 2010 — and no longer see any security updates than are running up-to-date software.

Not everyone wants one of these.

Real talk: there has not been a security apocalypse for mobile devices. Yet. But this is a recipe for one, and it could happen tomorrow. Isn’t preventing a massive data breach that affects millions and millions of us better than crossing fingers and hoping it doesn’t happen? Not everyone wants a “boring ass” Pixel or a BlackBerry. People want the things a Galaxy S8 or LG G6 give them. One of those things needs to be a little protection against the shitware that very smart people are making and looking for ways to give to everyone.

Security updates need to become a feature along with a great camera and slinky glass body.

Usually, security companies write blog posts to push their products and a specific agenda. While G Data’s post may serve to those goals it also highlights the very real and very serious problem of having software that’s easy to hack storing your credit card numbers and user passwords.

We wish there was better news here, but as usual, we can only offer the advice to be careful what you install and get all of your apps from Google play. Stay safe.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

Sit back, relax and chat about stuff because it’s the weekend!

I 💖weekends. I know I’m not alone here. Even if you work Saturday and Sunday or both, you gotta love it when the boss isn’t around to keep you from pressing buttons and doing things and everything is just a bit relaxed.

And if your weekend is on different days because you’re busting your butt today and tomorrow (shout out to servers and bartenders and retail workers and everyone else who makes life great), we hope you get to come home and relax at least a little bit on the days that start with S and think about the rest of us when you’re off through the week.

So who is doing something cool this weekend? I’m going to balance working and writing with time trying to find out what’s needed to build my own Pi Hat board, because I want Google Assistant in a cardboard box (or a plastic Oscar the Grouch trash can!) and Google is being Google again and making the actual kits impossible to find unless you’re Richard Devine. (loveu hatchu Richard). But it’s cool, my Pi Hat might just have huge blinking lights and sirens and make noises that only the dogs can hear. Or something. (Take that, Richard!). Yeah, this is pretty much what a giant nerd does on the weekend. And it’s freaking awesome.

Scroll down to the comments and let loose with whatever cool thing you have planned or anything else you want to talk about. You can even drop a pic somewhere like Imgur and drop the text link in a comment so we all can see it. Let’s do this thing!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

If you don’t have the Vive or Oculus Rift, your phone may be the next best thing.

This post was updated on 4/6 with more great VR friendly phones for you to check out!

If you don’t feel like shelling out $800 for an HTC Vive or $600 for an Oculus Rift, then your phone can be the next best VR option. With both Samsung and Google currently leading the pack, mobile VR is looking more promising than ever. These are our picks for the best mobile VR experiences!

Read more at VR Heads!

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

A 360° of the HTC U 11 is make the rounds, showing us what the HTC U 11 could look like. Now, before you start judging the design of the phone too harshly, the render isn’t from HTC and isn’t … Read More

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 | Posted by | Categories: HTC |

The AC podcast duo of Daniel and Jerry needed some reinforcements this week to dive into the new BlackBerry KEYone, so we called CrackBerry Kevin and Bla1ze of the CrackBerry team and MrMobile himself, Michael Fisher, to help us talk it out!

Is the BlackBerry KEYone a phone that everyone should be excited about, or just hardcore BlackBerry fans? And how come it took the company so long to make a phone like this? Get the inside scoop on why a phone like the KEYone took so long to come to market!

Show notes

Podcast MP3 URL:

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |

This is how you go viral.

In February, Spotify removed its in-app messaging feature, which instantly made it harder to share a song with a friend. What they have now totally makes up for it.

According to Techcrunch, more details are coming Monday May 8, but a feature that lets you scan a special barcode and instantly play a song is live and it’s pretty glorious.

Each song has a unique code attached to its album art (you bring that up the same way you always did) and using Spotify’s in-app camera you take a picture and the song plays. The feature works whether you’re scanning it from a friend’s phone or from a screenshot that you can send through any messaging app. It’s a simple feature that works just like it’s supposed to work, and we love it when that happens!

There are some great ways this might go viral, too (see Snapchat codes). Being able to post a small image anywhere on the web and it plays a song for you means sharing music becomes a lot easier. This is bound to be great for Spotify as well as everyone who likes listening.

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 | Posted by | Categories: Android |