Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Samsung and Google promise monthly security updates from now on

Recently a pretty nasty vulnerability in Android was discovered. It's being called Stagefright, and it affects versions 2.2 Froyo and newer of the OS. There is a fix, and thankfully it's now starting to be deployed through over-the-air updates by different manufacturers and carriers.
But to ensure a more swift response to future situations of this nature, two companies that are very important to the Android ecosystem have announced some similar measures today.
Let's start with Google, the developer of Android and the company in charge of software updates for the Nexus line. It has unveiled that, going forward, it will release monthly security updates for the Nexus devices, in addition to the usual platform updates.
The first such security patch is in fact rolling out right now to the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, and Nexus Player, fixing the aforementioned Stagefright exploit. According to Google, Nexus devices receive security updates "for the longer of three years from initial availability or 18 months from last sale of the device via the Google Store".
At the same time, Samsung, the biggest Android device maker, has committed to implementing a new security update process for its products. This will fast track patches when new vulnerabilities are uncovered. The updates will come to Samsung devices over-the-air "regularly about once per month".
The Korean company is already doing some fast tracking in issuing a patch for the Stagefright bug, but it "plans to further develop this process and implement it as a timely security update practice".

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