Even though Android is easily the most used mobile operating platform across the globe, its security vulnerabilities are notoriously easy to navigate around. While this is not due to a lack of security features on the platform, it is simply an outcome of its large number of users representing value for malicious attackers; the fact is that there are several features that Android can take away from iOS which is far more secure in nature.
Android 6.0 aka Android M or Android Marshmallow was released in October 2015 and today it has about 2.3% of the total Android market. While this represents a not insignificant 35 million users globally, the truth is that the adoption of Android Marshmallow has not been as deep as Android developers would have liked. This is a shame really, since Android 6.0 has some pretty neat in-built security features that are handy and effective. In this post we’ll look at some of these key features and see how that impacts Android users.
This is a welcome addition as it involves two things – apps will only ask for specific permissions as and when they need them. Till now, they would ask for all permissions in one long list which sometimes allowed apps to get away with asking for unnecessary permissions that users granted cumulatively. Secondly, users can also open a specific permission and see what apps have access to that. This is also a highly useful feature that can allow users to better police the list of permissions they have granted to apps.
Smart Lock Passwords
While there is no dearth of password managers like LastPass, there has long been a demand for Google to provide such integration for its users. This could also represent further security risks, however with Android 6.0, users now have the ability to store their third-party passwords on their Google account itself.
Anyone who has faced storage space issues on Android devices will appreciate this feature. Android M automatically extends app storage to external SD cards thus keeping internal memory clutter-free. What’s more, this app storage is also encrypted by default for security reasons.
Whatever your opinion on fingerprint authentication and recognition, it is a secure feature that improves the security of a device if it falls into the wrong hands in case of device loss or theft. While previous Android versions have had this feature independently provided by device manufacturers, Android now provides this feature on its Nexus range of devices. Called ‘Nexus Imprint’, the feature allows devices to be unlocked with a finger scan of its owner.
Android Security Patch Level
Following a spate of attacks on Android at the kernel level over the last few months, Android developers now release security patches and updates with greater frequency and regularity. Monthly security patches are now released and the OS also shows information about the last date on which the security patch was applied. This information can be viewed in the About Phone section on the device.
With these features and more, Android 6.0 aka Marshmallow promises to be one of the most secure mobile platforms released by Google. Unfortunately, with such a large number of users on the platform, attackers will always find and devise means to compromise security for Android users. So it is still advisable to make use of an effective mobile security solution in addition to these in-built Android security features.