Sunday, August 16, 2015

How Many Old Apple Devices Can’t Get Security Updates?

Glenn Fleishman:

Google’s statistics about Android devices checking into its Google Play Store show that only about 18 percent are running a version of Android 5; the majority run a 4.x release. When the Stagefright exploit was revealed more than two weeks ago, the estimate was that even though the exploit had been disclosed to Google and patched in its internal code base, over 95 percent of phones were vulnerable to a simple MMS-based attack. Carriers have worked at the network level and with MMS settings they can change remotely to reduce the risk. But from 20 to 50 percent of Android phones will never receive a patch.


Somewhere from 10 to 20 percent of devices are running iOS 7 or an earlier version. (MixPanel pegs it at 10 percent, while David Smith’s tracking of usage related to his Audiobooks app puts it around 20.) Over a billion iOS devices have been sold since the first iPhone, but it’s impossible to know how many remain in use unless Apple were to provide figures.


So 70 to 140 million users of systems that predate iOS 8 (and most iOS 8 users have upgraded to 8.4) seems like a large audience to exploit, even though a significant portion are using older devices.


Apple’s choices do leave a significant number of users of older versions of iOS at risk, but simultaneously make them slim pickings compared to other options.

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