Category: Security

July Android Security Update Coming as Two Patches

Like clockwork, Google has released the July Android Security updates for the platform, with both OTA and full factory images now available.  Interestingly, Google has split this month’s update into two different patches.  The first patch, dated July 1, is the most critical and broad reaching.  It includes two critical patches and 11 high priority patches for Android.  In all there are 22 fixes in this patch.  The second patch, dated July 5, contains several more fixes but is more specific to drivers and specific devices.  This patch has 7 critical patches and 19 high priority patches.  So why split them up?  Google is trying to get manufactures to update their devices faster and with the first patch being more broad its fixes, the hope is manufactures will get these updates out faster.  This will in turn give them time to do testing of the second patch (which may or may not be applicable to their devices anyway) for distribution as a separate patch or even a roll up into August.

T-Mobile Releases June Security Update for The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge

Good news this morning for those of you who have a Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge on T-Mobile.  The carrier has released the June security update in an OTA update with some other fixes and improvements this morning.  The updated builds are G920TUVU4EPF1 for the S6 while the S6 Edge new build is G925TUVU3EPD1.  For either device, the update weighs in at about 200MB and you will have to reboot your phone after you download and install the update.

Google Enables Phone-Based 2-Factor Authentication

Google has made a small but nice improvement to their authorization process of account access for those with 2-factor authentication enabled.  Previously, in order to approve a device accessing your account, you had to either get a text message to your phone or use the Google Authenticator app.  Now you can get a simple, full screen notification on your Android phone to approve access to your account.  It’s simple and effective and far faster than waiting on that text or opening the Authenticator app.

Android June Security Update is Live

It is the first of the month which means it is time for the monthly Android Security Bulletin to be released along with updated images for Nexus devices.  The June update is now on the Android Developer site in the factory images while OTA updates to Nexus devices will begin in short order.  Google has also released the full bulletin for the update, outlining all of the things that were addressed in the update.  In all there were 21 security updates in the release, six of which were considered critical in nature.  Google points out in the bulletin that no known exploitation of the issues are known but they are addressing them anyway to keep users safe and secure.

Google May Shame Manufactures and Carriers to Update Devices

One of the biggest challenges facing Android as a platform but mobile devices in general is security.  For their part, Google has been working hard to get security updates out to devices on a monthly basis.  The problem, however, is not Nexus devices.  It is the countless other manufactures and carriers out there who are painfully slow or simply refuse to update devices with the latest security updates in a timely manner.  It leaves consumers vulnerable unnecessarily.  It would seem that Google has had enough and may be about to use a tactic to get manufactures and carriers to update devices.

Public shaming.

Security Update Comes to The Galaxy S7 Lineup on T-Mobile

If you are on the T-Mobile network and have a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge, you will want to check for a small but important security update that has been released by the carrier.  The update brings a security fix to the device although the details of exactly what was fixed is not explicitly laid out in the release notes.  It isn’t the May Android Security update as that came earlier in the month so this is a separate fix from that release.  On the Galaxy S7, you are looking for build G930TUVS3APD8 while on the S7 Edge, you will want to look for build G935TUVU3APD8.

Fingerprint Sensors Dramatically Improves Android Device Security

During Google I/O last week, Googler Stephan Somogyi presented the 3rd Annual Google Security Update.  The update covered a lot of ground for a 37 minute presentation but one of the key messages around Android was how device fingerprint scanners have dramatically improved device security.  How?  Simply by having people setup the lock screen and use their fingerprint as the key to getting into their device.  With the introduction of these scanners on the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X, Stephan reported that now 90% of Nexus owners have enabled the lock screen.  That is up from just 50% the previous year.

PSA – EMail Hack Shows Once Again Why You Need To Use 2-Factor Authentication

The news from Reuters today outlining a massive email hack that has impacted some 270 million accounts globally, including some Gmail accounts, serves as another reminder to be safe out there and to use 2-Factor authentication.  Yes it is a pain and yes it sucks that we have to do these kinds of things, but it is a great way to keep your Google account and any other for that matter more safe and secure.  In fact, I would go as far as to suggest that if a service you use doesn’t offer 2-Factor authentication, you may need to rethink if you really need that service.

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