50%+ of Android devices face vulnerabilities

If you own an Android device, chances are it needs to be patched.

According to Duo Security, more than 50% of all gadgets powered by Google’s mobile operating system have vulnerabilities that could be fixed via a software patch.

The statistic is based on users who have downloaded a free app published by Duo. “Yes, it’s a scary number, but it exemplifies how important expedient patching is to mobile security and how poorly the industry–carriers, device manufacturers, etc.–has performed thus far,” said company CTO Jon Oberheide.

Problems arise from all sorts of places. Users could download a malicious app, they could have picked up some sort of bug from mobile Web browsing, or there could be vulnerabilities that came out of the box but have never been tended to by manufacturers or carriers.

The idea of having security threats in a device that is so personal is an alarming proposition indeed, but because of the way different networks interact, most vulnerabilities only pose a real problem to users in specific regions.

For example, one of the most prolific threats is SMS-based malware that only causes a problems in Eastern Europe.

On the flip side, users generally have less control over these issues. Unlike computers where anti-virus software is commonplace, users are much less proactive when it comes to protecting their phones.