Gingerbread (aka Android version 2.3 to 2.3.7) is a surprisingly common mobile operating system on new Android phones. This veritable version of Android is highly compatible with many apps but still has enough power to handle the app and processing needs of the newest Android phones coming out of their factories.
It is has, however, become a bit too popular for its own good.
The Gingerbread Security Risk
Android’s open-source nature and leading position in the consumer market has made it an attractive target for criminals and malicious entities. These crooks have had a lot of time to study the older, more popular Gingerbread operating system and have subsequently found security vulnerabilities to exploit.
This means that some mean-spirited individual on the Internet can slip into the software of new Android mobiles and snoop around the data – a surprisingly simple task on devices connected to managed and hosting Internet servers.
This is why both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security have alerted fire departments, police departments, emergency medical services, those handling security and anyone else in key positions to upgrade their new Android phones to later versions of Android – namely Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0.4) or Jelly Bean (Android 4.3).
The FBI and DHS have outlined a series of possible threats to present and future Android phones using
• Toll fraud or when the phone is remotely manipulated to send text messages to premium-rate numbers that can result to over-the-top phone charges.
• Rootkits or malicious software that are difficult to detect and quietly take note of all passwords and login details.
• Fake domains that redirect phone users to fake Google Play stores that install much more dangerous and malicious software into the phone.
Check Your Version and Secure Your Phone
One of the most important things you need to do right now is determine what version your phone is using right now. Don’t rest easy because you have one of the best Android phones on the market since Gingerbread is a mobile operating system that is still being used to this day. Around 44 percent of all Android devices use Gingerbread, according to a report from Google containing data for 2012.
You can do this by going to your phone’s Settings then to the About Phone section. This same section will also allow you to update your phone’s software as long as you have Wi-Fi access or 3G access from a local Internet provider. Heck, even the smart watches that are just coming out of the factories need to be checked if they run on Gingerbread!
Another thing you can do to secure your phone is to install trusted anti virus applications like Avast Mobile Security, AVG Antivirus, Lookout Mobile Security or Kaspersky Mobile Security. Many of these antivirus apps have free versions that provide basic protection against malware. The paid versions of these apps have more advanced features like anti-theft measures and active shields that scan all apps making use of Internet access.
Replace Your Phone?
It is important to note, however, that not antivirus apps may not be enough to address the security vulnerabilities of Gingerbread. Some old and new Android phones are simply incapable of handling the demands of later versions of Android. These phones are designed specifically to work with Gingerbread and will not be able to function using Ice Cream Sandwich or Jelly Bean. If this is the case with your phone, then it may be wise to upgrade to the next Android phones that use later versions of the operating system.