At the end of last month, Google announced it had blocked a new family of malware that had spread through its Play Store. Dubbed Lipizzan, the malicious code wasn’t spectacular in terms of spying capabilities. The part that has bigger implications for mobile security is how it got through Google’s filters in the first place.
Smartphones sure are handy. They come with all the functionality one could want from a device – constant internet connection, web browsing, all you favorite social media pages, a camera, map apps that help you find your way. What else could one want? Well, privacy and security. Each of the beforementioned Android functionalities comes with a set of vulnerabilities and expands the device’s attack surface. Here’s why you might be better off without them.
You can’t overstate how central smartphones have become to people’s lives. The average time a person spends using their mobile device is about five hours a day – one-third of the time a person is awake. Nothing wrong with that really. Until you consider how much data – often personal – this activity involves. Android phones are inherently insecure in the way they handle this data. And while volumes of it leak all the time, there is no shortage of parties looking to put your data to malicious use.
No matter what kind of Android phone you use, it is hard to escape Google’s presence. It is embedded in the OS your phone runs, and through it in every app you use. Google Services provide supplemental functionality to the various third-party apps running on your phone. And while there are plenty of cool and useful features Google Services make possible, they are undoubtedly a plague for one thing – privacy.