Android security in South Africa is a disaster waiting to happen

Mobile operators in South Africa are not rolling out updates for Android phones when security vulnerabilities are patched.

A reader recently alerted MyBroadband to the fact that his Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge from Cell C was not receiving security updates as it should.

Samsung releases security patches for the Galaxy S7 range of smartphones on a monthly basis.

These patches are rolled into firmware updates which mobile operators then distribute to their subscribers on those devices.

A look at Vodacom’s firmware release schedule on Sammobile reveals that it has been issuing regular updates since June, sometimes even patching twice a month.

Other mobile networks have not been as good at keeping the devices on their networks up to date.

This raises the question: If Samsung and operators in South Africa won’t update the flagship device of the most popular smartphone brand in the country, what does that say about the rest of the Android ecosystem?

Responding to this question, Telkom told MyBroadband it has now issued an update that brings Galaxy S7 devices on its network up to date with Samsung’s October security patches.

MTN was not able to give a specific answer about how it is tackling the issue, but said security is vital to it.

“We take both information and physical security extremely seriously,” said MTN.

Cell C and Samsung did not respond by the time of publication.

Now read: Samsung Galaxy S7 has Quadrooter vulnerability

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Android security in South Africa is a disaster waiting to happen