Watch Out, Android Users: Hackers Are After You

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If you're an iPhone user who constantly gets berated by friends who are loyal to Android phones, I have some ammo for the next time your bestie's brother says, "Well, my Android phone screen NEVER cracks."

Android has had a tough year of press, with several instances of hackers breaking into the operating system. Specific instances include stealing fingerprints and all of your private data and information. One of the reasons these hacks are happening on Android phones and not iPhones is the way its operating systems are released.

Apple streamlines the production of its hardware and software, making it more efficient to roll out new releases and patches (bug fixes). Google, which powers the Android operating system, releases its updates to cell phone manufacturers and carriers, leaving it up to companies like Verizon and Sprint to release updates to their users. So hold back on Google-shaming – it's not entirely its fault.

One of the more recent hacks was uncovered by Zimperium security researcher Joshua Drake. He notified Google and provided the necessary patch, and Google approved the fix and sent it out to its carriers and manufacturers. Remember - the fix won't be implemented until the carriers release it to their users. One can argue that streaming update processes like Apple did, could prevent hacks like this in the future, or fixing ones that occur more efficiently and quickly, but this is only one factor to consider when tackling the larger issue of hackers getting into your phones.

For example, when the sensor hack for fingerprints happened, hackers not only had access to fingerprints through mobile phones, but through any mobile device that had a sensor installed. So, if your computer or tablet has a sensor for your fingerprint - you're still at-risk.
Fear not, Android users! You can prevent hacks and lower the risk of being cyber-attacked by downloading apps from reliable sources, not jail-breaking your phone (seriously, who does that anymore?) and always updating your operating system when a new one is available.


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