As many as one-third of executives using Android-powered devices may still be running less than secure versions of the operating system, according to a vendor survey.

In a report issued today Skycure, which sells mobile security solutions, said a study this spring of its subscribers shows 33 per cent of those with Android devices are running OS versions before 6.0. By comparison slightly under half of non-executive Skycure subscribers have Android devices that aren’t the latest version of the operating system.

The percentage Android devices detected with high or moderate malware for either group was about the same — 22.5 per cent for executives, 26.5 per cent for non-executives.

On the other hand, there’s evidence that executives are more security-conscious than other employees: Only nine per cent of all devices (Android/iOS or Windows) used executives didn’t have password protection, compared to 16.5 per cent of general employees.

The survey comes as criminal groups are increasingly targeting their attacks, Skycure says. The numbers are included in the company’s quarterly mobile threat intelligence report.

“Considering the vast majority of operating system patches address security issues, quickly updating to the latest OS version is an important step to minimize the risk of exposure to device vulnerability exploits,” says the report.

However, some Android device manufacturers don’t issue OS updates for all of their products, nor to all carriers test and release approved updates. That is slowly changing as more vendors, sensitive to complaints that Android is less secure than iOS devices, agree to release patches as soon as possible.

According to Google’s latest figures, only 18.7 per cent of Android handsets and tablets around the world are running 6.0 (dubbed Marshmallow). The majority — 43.3 per cent — are still running versions of 4.x (including 27 per cent still on 4.4).  Another 35 per cent are running 5.0/5.1. The dangers of running old versions of Android were outlined in these two reports.

If you are running an older version of a mobile operating system there are things to avoid to lower the risk of infection. That includes not opening email attachments, not going to risky Web sites and only downloading apps from reputable app stores like Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Even if they have the latest operating system Skycure says executives should follow basic safe security practices, including those above, by using a numeric or biometric passcode on all mobile devices and not using public WiFi networks — especially those with “Free” in their name,

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