Is your phone on an older version of Android? Beware of malware attacks!

The poor adoption rate of new Android operating systems is visibly impacting Android phone users, with a malware named Ghost Push continuing to infect millions of devices as we speak.

A new report from Cheetah Mobile warns that over 80% of all Android phones are vulnerable to being infected by Ghost Push.

The major advantage that iOS enjoys over Android is that Apple doesn't have to depend on OEMs to pass on new OS updates and fixes to all devices. Apple's iOS has, for this reason, consistently enjoyed much higher adoption rates of new operating systems compared to Android, and which has kept iOS devices less vulnerable than Android ones from malware, Trojans, ransomware and viruses of all kinds.

According to Cheetah Mobile, between 35 million to 40 million applications are being installed to smartphones on a daily basis. Of these, around 1% apps contain malware or are Trojans masquerading as apps. A vast majority of these creepy apps are downloaded from sources outside of the Play Store which cannot always be tracked. How these malware get into devices is through banners and pop-up ads asking users to download new apps. Once users click on these ads, the malware 'will simulate inputs and install unwanted apps automatically.' The most potent malware obtain root access to infected devices and automatically download new apps and files, thus destroying users' security and privacy even further.

The most prolific of trojans are 'org.message.up.update', '' and 'com.power.core.setting' which are downloaded ober 10,000 times evey day. These Trojans 'cause ad popups and trick users into downloading other malicious apps,' says the report. 'Since the two Trojans were discovered in January 2016, the amount of applications promoted by them has been increasing. Currently, these two Trojans are promoting about 30,000 to 40,000 applications, including legitimate but unwanted apps to users and malwares.'

The report adds that almost all Android devices infected by the Trojans in question run Android systems older than Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Marshmallow was first released by Google in September of last year but worryingly, the OS could manage an adoption rate of just 13.3% by July of this year. A stat published by the Google Android Developer Dashboard in July stated that the adoption rates of older operating system versions like Lollipop, Kit Kat and JellyBean till July 11 stood at 35.1%, 30.1% and 17.8% respectively.

With older operating systems unable to tackle increasingly potent malware and rendering devices open to attacks, it will be interesting to see if Google will work with OEMs in a new way to increase the uptake of Android 7.0 Nougat across devices to ensure that older phones do not get vulnerable just because some OEMs weren't too concerned with rolling out new OS updates to their devices.

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