Today the Android and Apple iOS mobile platforms control a lion share of the mobile market.
According to Technobuffalo.com,
“Gartner recently released its latest figures for mobile operating system share for the fourth quarter of 2015. iOS and Android are killing it as usual, with a combined 98.4 percent of the mobile device market.”
Android controls over 80.4 percent of the market share, and because of that, one is forced to think – how safe is Android? The privacy of app users is at a constant risk. Although this is a problem for all operating systems, Android is by far the most widely used and so the most widely targeted. Google’s Play Store is most prone to hacks and cyber attacks. Google has, in the past, tried to calm nerves by consoling users about this security issue. However, these security issues do still exist. We have to wonder though, how much of a threat is this? Should we be worried? Can Android apps be safely used for enterprise mobility solutions?
Top Security Threats
Here are some of the top security threats Android app developers must address to keep the privacy of its users safe.
Malicious Software or Hardware
The Android platform is constantly bombarded with Malware or malicious software.
According to Tech.co, approximately “95 percent of Android mobile devices are at a risk of being affected. Android is Open Source, and this leaves the Operating System at a risk of over 75,000 identified security threats.”
Common Android malware includes: Andr/PJApps-C, Andr/Generic-S, Andr/BBridge-A, Andr/DrSheep-A, and Andr/BatterD-A. All work by sending personally identifiable information to a server to hack accounts.
Malicious Software for Mobile Application Development
The issue for Android doesn’t end there. Android is prone to malicious attacks as a whole. This holds true for the software, the apps that are provided as default, and also for any new apps that are downloaded from the Play Store. This definitely poses a serious security threat.
Customized Operating Systems
Did you know that mobile device manufacturers modify the Android OS to improve its functionality on their device? This can render the OS vulnerable to security hacks.
Downloading Apps outside Google Play
We all know that Google Play has its own share of security breaches. However, users expose themselves to even bigger threats when they download apps from unidentified sources other than the Play Store.
Granting Permission to Apps
Most of the time developers are not clear about the permissions that are needed for a mobile app. Users also do not understand the nature of the permission that the app requests. This is a huge security threat and it is true for all Operating Systems. Ideally an app needs to only request the minimum permissions that are required for it to work optimally. Prompting for unnecessary permissions only opens up the window for security threats.
Android Fragmentation – a Major Setback
Fragmentation means that at any given time a device will have multiple versions of the Android software running. This issue is aggravated when some users opt out of regularly updating their devices. This will only increase the number of programming errors and will in turn expose the device to security threats.
There are many reasons as to why Android is the most targeted device for malicious attacks. Google Play Store is not a secure environment by itself and experts consider Google Play Store as one of the biggest sources of potential threats. Android definitely needs to pull its act together to create a safer environment for its users.