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monthly security patches

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Your phone's Android security patches may not be as up to date as you think

You consider yourself a responsible smartphone user. You go out of your way to keep your data safe, protecting your handset with a strong passcode, paying close attention to the permissions you grant apps, and making sure that your phone is always running the latest security updates available to it. At least, you think your phone is patched against the most recent security exploits, but is it really? A new report suggests that's likely not the case, claiming that many phones are missing at least one, and sometimes ten or more security patches.

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[Update: Security bulletin is live] Nexus factory images and full system OTAs are now available with September's security updates, still missing Nougat images for the Nexus 6P, 6, and 9 LTE

The first round of security updates for Nougat is ready. It has only been eleven days since the official release of Android 7.0, but keeping with the regular schedule, new factory images and full system OTAs are now available for installation. There are also Marshmallow-based images with the latest security updates for many devices, including the Nexus 5, which will no longer officially receive major version updates. (Note: it looks like the OTA page lists the new updates, but the files aren't linked properly.

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[Update: Fixed] Nexus 5 users are encountering serious volume bugs after the July OTA

The incremental security updates that Android gets are generally regarded as a good thing, but with every software update comes the chance that something could get borked. That's doubly true with faster updates, and it seems to be the case with the latest Marshmallow release for the Nexus 5. According to our own readers, commenters on XDA and Reddit, and not least users on the official AOSP issue tracker, the original Nexus 5 is encountering some serious problems with volume control on the latest build, MOB30P.

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[Update: Pixel C] Nexus factory images and OTA ZIPs with July's security updates are now available

The Factory images and OTA ZIPs for July 2016 are now available for the full line of supported Nexus hardware (still waiting for the Pixel C). They're a little behind schedule this month, possibly because it was Independence Day in the United States on Monday, or possibly to leave time for some late-breaking security patches that may have been added in the eleventh hour. The Android Security Bulletin covers the list of vulnerabilities addressed with this set of updates, and for the first time it includes two separate lists: one dated July 1st and the other dated July 5th.

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June Security Update Factory Images And OTA ZIPs For Nexus Devices Are Live

Right on schedule on the first Monday of the month, Google's latest security updates for Nexus devices have arrived. Both factory images and OTA update zips for June 2016 are available for the following devices, Android version 6.0.1, listed below with build numbers for your convenience.

  • Pixel C - MXC89H
  • Nexus 6P - MTC19V
  • Nexus 5X - MTC19V
  • Nexus 6 - MOB30M
  • Nexus Player - MOB30M
  • Nexus 9 LTE - MOB30M
  • Nexus 9 Wi-Fi - MOB30M
  • Nexus 5 - MOB30M
  • Nexus 7 2013 Wi-Fi - MOB30M
  • Nexus 7 2013 3G - MOB30M

This month's security bulletin can be found here, and this month's updates contain six security fixes Google has deemed "critical," four of which are specific to Qualcomm driver privilege elevation vulnerabilities (a further five such Qualcomm driver vulnerabilities were classified from high to moderate severity).

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Samsung Posts Patch Notes For Its March And April Monthly Security Updates For 'Major Flagship Models'

In a perfect world, every manufacturer would update all of its Android phones and tablets every single time Google posted an update to AOSP. We don't live in that perfect world, but at least some of them have paid lip service to the new monthly security updates that Google has been issuing for the last eight months or so. Samsung is one of them... as long as the definition of "monthly" is stretched to something like "eventually." The company posted March's security update notes yesterday (on April 13th) and followed up with the April notes almost immediately.

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CyanogenMod 12.1 Snapshots With AOSP's November Security Updates Now Hitting Devices

CyanogenMod snapshots provide the most stable experience you can expect from the custom ROM, and now the latest batch is rolling out to devices. This time around you're getting the November security updates that Google released in AOSP earlier this month. Your device will still run Lollipop. Marshmallow won't appear until CyanogenMod 13.

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[Update: Nexus Player, Project Fi And T-Mobile 6, And 7 LTE] Google Uploads LMY48M Bugfix Factory Images For The Nexus 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, And 10

Yesterday T-Mobile announced new over-the-air updates for the Nexus 4, 5, 6, 7, and 9. They contained security and bug-related fixes that, for the most part, aren't all that exciting. The patches amounted to under 20MB for all but the Nexus 6, which was under 30. But Google didn't promise us fun when it promised monthly Nexus updates.

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LG Joins Google And Samsung In Promising To Provide Monthly Security Updates

The news of the Stagefright exploit appears to have precipitated a much needed update commitment from Google and various Android OEMs. After Samsung announced its new Android security update process and Google revealed the details of a new Nexus update policy, LG is following suit and promising similar monthly security patch updates.

Although it hasn't been officially announced by the company, the news comes from a couple of reliable sources. First, speaking at the security conference Black Hat 2015, Googler Adrian Ludwig revealed that LG has made the same commitment to send the monthly security patches that it receives from Google to end users. This, supposedly, should last for three years after a handset is announced, the same as Nexus phones.

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