Google patches up Android
By Matthew Sparkes
Posted on 4 Nov 2008 at 10:21
Google is rolling out its first Android patch to protect users from malicious attacks and phishing.
The search giant's open-source operating system was last week discovered to include a security flaw, although exact details were withheld temporarily to allow Google to develop a fix.
"A user of an Android phone who uses the web browser to surf the internet may be exploited if they visit a malicious page," warns an advisory on the Independent Security Evaluators website. The flaw was blamed in part on Google's use of aging versions of other open-source projects.
Users will be shown a message stating that "a system update is available", and given the option of installing it immediately or delaying the process. Downloading the patch takes just minutes, and will protect against the documented attack.
Although the threat was real, the severity of the problem was minimised by the low number of devices in circulation. The only commercial Android device on the market is the T-Mobile G1 handset, and it was released in the UK only last week.
Google announced last week that it had already developed a fix for the problem, but was in talks with T-Mobile about how to distribute the patch.
Google is currently promoting the tight integration between its webmail service, GMail, and the Android operating system, which offers a form of push email. "Google Mail on Android shows new messages in your inbox as they arrive - without having to refresh," says the Google website. The device will also synchronise with Google's Calendar service.
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