Researchers say some Android phone makers hide missed updates

Smartphone manufacturers caught lying to consumers about having the latest Android Security patches

And if a company making those chips isn't keeping up with patches, it becomes quite hard for the manufacturers of the phones running them to fully secure their devices.

In a recent report by a German security firm, it was found that several Android phones missed multiple security patches leaving these devices vulnerable to a broad collection of known hacking techniques.

ZTE and TCL appear to be among the worst offenders, while Google, Samsung and Sony are the best at patching. All that said, Google has reportedly pointed out some details which are worth considering - some of the devices may not have been Android certified devices which means they wouldn't be offering the same standard of security updates as Google and other more trusted OEMs.

It can get worse that that, Nohl told Wired's Andy Greenberg. Presenting the results of SRLs finding at a security conference, researcher Karsten Nohl said, "We found several vendors that didn't install a single patch but changed the patch date forward by several months". The team cited the Samsung J5 2016 as being honest about the lack of patches, while the J3 2016 lacked 12 patches (including two deemed "critical") despite claiming to receive every security update in 2017. One theory points to the chipsets these handsets are running, as there seems to be a correlation between particular SoCs and the availability of security updates: Snapdragon-based phones and those running Samsung's Exynos chips may only have one recent fix missing, while those built with MediaTek chips average almost ten. In order to help users tackle the problem, SRL Labs will be releasing an update to its SnoopSnitch Android app that allows users to check their phone's code for the actual state of its security updates.

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This OnePlus phone seems to be in decent, if outdated, security shape. That can mean frustration for those waiting for the latest and greatest feature updates - and in some cases, it can put your phone at risk with delayed or missed security updates.

The patch gap issue is not an isolated case. Other handset makers have to examine each update and, if necessary, tailor them to fit each of their own devices. Out of the 1,200 phones tested by SRL, which included devices from Google, Samsung, HTC, Motorola and TCL, the firm found that even flagship devices from Samsung and Sony missed a patch.

One of the interesting revelations from the research is that even major vendors such as Xiaomi and Nokia (which promise swifter updates) had on an average between one and three missing patches, whereas HTC, Motorola, and LG had missed between three and four patches. At least, you think your phone is patched against the most recent security exploits, but is it really? The more alarming detail is not that the security patches had been missed, but rather the number of times that the patches weren't applied.

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