The news broke late last week that 99% of all Android smartphones suffer from a security problem that allows knowledgeable hackers to access private information used by certain online services.

The news broke late last week that 99% of all Android smartphones suffer from a security problem that allows knowledgeable hackers to access private information used by certain online services.

The problem relates to the way in which Android transmits information to log into Google’s Calendar and Contacts services — something that happens constantly with an Android smartphone and the Google Accounts that all models are designed to integrate with. If exploited, the security hole allows a hacker to gain access to a user’s accounts any data they contain.

Fortunately, the problem was spotted by security researchers at Germany’s Ulm University rather than after an actual hack, but it still highlights how easy it is to overlook even very obvious security holes in complicated software. The fact that the Android operating system used by so many smartphones is overseen by Google only serves to hammer home this point.

The other bit of good news is that the security hole can only be exploited when a smartphone is connected to an unsecured wireless network than other people can freely connect to — such as a public hotspot in a café. Anyone using an Android smartphone at home on an encrypted Wi-Fi network, or with 3G when out and about, is immune to potential attack.

Google has already patched the security hole with an update to Android, but version 2.3.4 won’t be available to all Android smartphone users — it’s usually left to individual handset manufacturers to decide when to make updates available.

Google has, however, also updated its Calendar and Contacts applications to patch the hole too, so the problem should be resolved to all users. Any Android smartphone users who have recently connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot or other public Wi-Fi network would do well to change their Google Account password, though.

Share with friends

Follow us on

Most recent motorhome reviews

The Practical Motorhome Chausson Flash 530 – 1 - You can get the 2017 Chausson Flash 530 on the Ford Transit (as tested) or on the Fiat Ducato (© Alf Alderson/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome 2017 Elddis Autoquest 195 review – 1 - The 2017 Elddis Autoquest 195 has a licence-friendly MTPLM of 3500kg (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome La Strada Regent L review – 1 - The German van converter with an Italian name is back in the UK after many years – and the Regent L is one of La Strada's flagship models (© Peter Baber/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Wingamm Micros-Plus review – 1 - The slick GRP bodyshell sits well with the Volkswagen T6 base vehicle – the Micros-Plus is priced from £62,000 OTR (© Andy Jenkinson/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Autocruise Select 184 review – 1 - The Autocruise Select 184 is priced from £39,885 OTR, however our test ’van had a price tag of £44,570 (© Phil Russell/Practical Motorhome)
The Practical Motorhome Hymer B-Class DynamicLine 588 review – 1 - This four-berth Hymer motorhome costs from £73,500 OTR, £85,128 as tested (© Nick Harding/Practical Motorhome)