Your online security and privacy needs more than Google’s work

Your online security and privacy needs more than Google's work

Tech Highlights:

  • Your phone isn’t just a hunk of metal and glass filled with Android magic. It’s built using thousands of different parts, many of which run a bit of code inside of them so they can operate. One of the most important of these parts is, of course, the SoC (System on a Chip) inside. The chip is not only the most powerful part of a phone, it’s usually the most vulnerable when it comes to exploits that affect our security and privacy.

  • All of the smart components in your phone require regular maintenance, which these companies are assisting with. Google and the manufacturers of Android phones have gotten very excellent at keeping everything up to date in order to preserve our online security and privacy. Mostly. Even if they aren’t flashy, they are the vital improvements. An Android Security update necessitates a significant amount of effort. There’s a lot more than you think, and it comes from a lot more companies than you realise. When it comes down to it, the companies you’re not thinking about are the ones doing the most effort and playing the most significant role.

Become a Data Scientist. No technical background required. Great Learning. Case in point: Check Point Research just released some news about a vulnerability (it’s since been patched or is being patched on all affected devices) inside the chips that power about two-thirds of every Android device. Long story short, 11 years ago Apple released some open-source code used for audio decoding. It’s been modified over the years but it’s still in use today. That’s what’s great about open-source code — anyone can use it, make it better, and share it with everyone else.

You don’t have to worry about this one because all of the best Android phones have already been updated with a patch that stops these hackers from doing any of this. But soon enough, another similar — or worse — vulnerability will be found. We like to go on and on about how important it is for Google to do whatever it takes to get the latest security-focused updates to every user. But that’s a momentous task because Google can’t just make a patch and force it out to every phone because the manufacturer needs to get involved. Google can patch a Pixel phone, but Samsung has to patch a Galaxy phone. Samsung does an awesome job, but not every phone maker cares as much.

Qualcomm and MediaTek both use some variant of this code and hackers (the bad kind that nobody likes) have found a way to exploit this code to do things like stream video from your camera without you knowing, or even get permission to install malware or take control of everything. That’s bad news.

All this aside, even if every phone maker and Google got together to make sure all the Android patches get sent out, a vulnerability like the one described above wouldn’t be fixed. That’s because neither Google nor the company that built your phone can fix the code provided by Qualcomm or MediaTek or any of the other vendors that provide parts that include a bit of code needed to operate correctly. Some of us can’t wait to get an update of some sort. Whether it be for an app or a security patch or even the next version of Android, we watch for it and install it as soon as we can. Some of us even sign up for beta access to try it before it’s ready.

But for a lot of people, installing an update to their phone is just a pain in the ass. It usually means you have to reboot your phone and you don’t seem to even get anything cool from doing it, so the notification just gets swiped away. After all, it will come back and you can “do it later.” Don’t be that person who ignores and never i

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