A study by antivirus company Bitdefender tells us that 35% of phones and Android are becoming more vulnerable to viruses and hackers. We explain why and how you can protect yourself.
The Android operating system for smartphones and tablets gives its users a great deal of freedom.
However, this freedom that the so-called “open” system offers is also a double-edged sword. Unlike Apple’s iOS, Android is more likely to be infected with a virus or malware.
Although Google provides security updates for Android, only certain versions are eligible.
As a result, with the arrival of Android 13 in fall 2022, even more phones and tablets will lose access to security updates.
3 years of security updates for most Android devices
The study by the antivirus company Bitdefender paints a picture of the situation that awaits many users of smartphones and tablets with Android.
Researchers point out that around 70% of smartphones in the world run on Android.
From all these Android users:
- 36.47% would roll on Android version 12
- 29.15% would run on Android 11
- 15.03% would run on Android 10
Here is a graph of the distribution of Android users by software version. Photo credit: Bitdefender.
The catch is that most Android device manufacturers only offer security updates from Google for 3 years. In short, on the last three versions of Android.
There are some exceptions, notably on the Google Pixel 6 side, which supports security updates for 5 years. They need to promote their products… Samsung’s latest Galaxy S and Galaxy Z models are also eligible for 4 years of security support.
As of this writing, that means anyone with a device running Android 9 or lower will no longer receive security updates.
As we can see in the Bitdefender chart, there are still some people who fall into this category. That would be 20% of Android users worldwide.
With the release of Android 13 in fall 2022, the problem will only increase as anyone running on Android 10 will no longer be eligible for security updates.
Therefore, 35% of Android users are vulnerable to security breaches that can lead to hackers infiltrating our devices and installing viruses and malware.
What to do to protect yourself without an update?
This 3-year support cycle of Android security updates is frustrating to say the least. It reminds us how important it is to check which version a phone you’re considering buying is running and if its support cycle is longer.
However, if we have an older smartphone or Android tablet, it does not mean that our device is outdated. The proof, many are still running on old versions like Android 5 which was released in 2014.
That means we need to be extra vigilant and stock up on protective solutions.
No wonder Bitdefender published this study. They just want to remind you that their mobile antivirus is there to protect older devices.
This doesn’t take away from the point he shares. Many devices are and will be more susceptible to hacker attacks!
Below is my advice on how to gear up and protect your Android devices.
The best antivirus programs for Apple’s Android and iOS phones and tablets
What to do if your phone or tablet is not compatible with the new Android version?