When I talk to IT managers about their mobile policies there are any number of things they want to bend my ear on.
But many agree on one thing: Anxiety about letting Android devices on their wireless network. Those who feel their organizations don’t have much in the way of personal or financial information at risk are more relaxed about it. However, the bigger the company the more anxious they are.
Why? Because Android is less secure than BlackBerrys and Apple devices, and more malware is being aimed at the Android platform than any other mobile OS.
Security blogger Graham Cluley made the point in a guest column he wrote Thursday for a British IT security consulting firm using Android’s own recently published figures: Just over 30 per cent of mobile devices that visited the Google Play store in the past week were running versions of Android between 3.2 and 2.2.
The good news is that some 60 per cent of devices dropping into the Google Play site are running versions 4.x.
This week HP issued its annual Cyber Risk security report and found tens of millions of malware had been downloaded in apps from Google Play in 500,000 apps it looked at.
Owners aren’t completely to blame for all the old versions of Android out there. A quick check as I write this shows that Best Buy Canada today is selling two Android tablets running Gingerbread (v. 2.3) and one running Honeycomb (v.3.2). Yup, they’re still on the market. The latest version is 4.4 (KitKat).
Carriers have to test and approve every upgrade for every handset they carry to make sure there are no network issues, but they usually can’t be bothered. So my Android handset is still stuck on v.4.1.2 nine months after I bought it.
What organizations need is mobile device management software that won’t let devices on the network unless they have a recent version of Android.
It’s hard to disagree with Cluley that Android fragmentation is a big reason why some companies see Android as a nightmare.