Every one of us is familiar with Android version updates like Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat, Android O... But if you take a look at About Phone in your device settings, you may find an option 'Android Security Patch Level'. Have you ever thought what this is?
Apart from annual Android updates, Google releases a security update each month, which aims to correct flaws in their system. The objective is to ensure continued protection for users and to react quickly to security problems that could arise. In this thread, we’ll outline the corrective measures issued by Google.
Android is a Linux based OS, so security patch level plays a prominent role when it gets updated. What it exactly does is:
- Fix various bugs in previous kernels
- Prevent hackers from accessing your devices in various ways possible. (Just to make your device Hacker-proof for time being.)
Working of Monthly Security Updates
To make Android a secure system, Google has put a monthly security update program in place for all devices running on Android. This program is rolled out in three stages:
- The first stage is development. Having identified the flaw, Google's engineers develop the update and prepare it for testing.
- The second stage is testing. Google sends the update to its collaborators, who are the smartphone manufacturers so that they can test it on their products.
- Once testing has finished, the update is distributed to users by the manufacturers through an OTA (Over-The-Air) update. Finally, a public notice stating the corrected patches is distributed on the website to inform users that the update is available.
Who implements the monthly security updates?
This monthly security update program relies on manufacturers’ good will. If they don’t make the effort to offer the updates to users, their smartphones will remain vulnerable. Few manufacturers like Xiaomi distribute the updates to their devices every month. Whereas some manufacturers wait several months to do it.
What new features come with monthly security updates?
These updates neither bring about any changes nor adds any features. They just correct the flaws and vulnerabilities in the system.
Flaws corrected by July’s security patch
After the last update in June, which saw the correction of 60 issues, June’s update was even more comprehensive with 108 Android flaws, 27 of which were critical. These flaws were with Android versions 4, 5.0, 6.0, 7.0 and 7.1.
Some critical flaws could potentially allow a harmful application to take control of your smartphone. Fortunately, Google explained that there had never been “any reports on an active exploitation or abuse of these newly reported problems”. Most of the flaws concerned the code supplied by Qualcomm for its components (processor or modem) but Google has proved its willingness to correct its errors and provide users with continued security. Among other issues corrected in June, there were problems with Bluetooth, in the Media framework, in the libraries, and with the user interface system.
Flaws corrected by August's security patch
Flaws corrected by September's security patch
These security patches are the most important updates that you will ever get. So once you get an update notification in updater app, install them.
What do you think of the monthly android security updates?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Credits: Android Security Bulletin