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Google to Issue Over The Air Updates to Nexus Devices

Google on Wednesday that it has begun issuing over the air (OTA) security-focused updates to its Android-based Nexus devices, which the search giant says will happen on a monthly basis.

The first security update of this kind began rolling out today, to Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 9, Nexus 10, and Nexus Player, Google said.

“From this week on, Nexus devices will receive regular OTA updates each month focused on security, in addition to the usual platform updates,” Adrian Ludwig, Lead Engineer for Android Security, and Venkat Rapaka, Director of Nexus Product Management, wrote in a blog post.

Today’s security update contains fixes for issues in bulletins provided to partners through July 2015, including fixes for the recent Android “Stagefright” vulnerabilities uncovered late last month by security firm Zimperium.

Described by Zimperium as the “worst” Android flaws discovered to date, the series of critical remote code execution vulnerabilities allow a malicious actor to compromise an Android device simply by knowing the targeted user’s phone number and sending an MMS message.

“At the same time, the fixes will be released to the public via the Android Open Source Project. Nexus devices will continue to receive major updates for at least two years and security patches for the longer of three years from initial availability or 18 months from last sale of the device via the Google Store,” the blog post said.

In addition to Google, Samsung also said on Wednesday that it soon will implement a new Android security update process for its Galaxy devices that fast tracks mobile security patches over the air when security vulnerabilities are uncovered.

News of the efforts by Google and Samsung is a huge win for Android users. For years, wireless carriers and phone manufacturers have been accused of putting profits over protection and dragging their feet on regular operating system updates, making Android users vulnerable to malware and other attacks.

Related ReadingCarriers Cripple Android, Prioritize Profits Over Protection

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.