Nearly Half of Local Govt. Employees Use Old Android Devices

Nearly half of Android cell phones used by US and local government employees are running old versions of the operating system, according to a revealing report.(Opens in a new window).

Researchers at cybersecurity firm Lookout analyzed 200 million devices and 175 million apps from 2021 through the second half of 2022 and found alarming statistics that mean millions of government devices are vulnerable to vulnerabilities that could be exploited for attacks.

Lookout reports that 30% of federal government devices and nearly 50% of state and local government devices have yet to upgrade to Android 12 ten months after its release.

In fact, 10.7% of the federal government and another 17.7% of state and local government devices were running Android 8 and 9, which were not supported respectively as of November 2021 and March 2022.

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Lookout has indicated that there are 1,332 vulnerabilities in Android 8 that attackers can exploit, compared to 423 in Android 12. Since older operating systems are not supported, these are vulnerabilities that neither Google nor Apple will fix and over time the number of vulnerabilities will increase. .

However, the incomplete assimilation of new operating system versions among government employees is not limited to Android users. The report highlights how 10 months after the release of iOS 15, 5% of federal government employees and 30% of state and local government machines were still running older versions of the operating systems.

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The report comes as the FBI warned(Opens in a new window) It is likely that cyber actors will “continue or increase their targeting of US election officials” with phishing campaigns ahead of the midterm elections.

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In 2020, the federal government suffered a major cyber attack(Opens in a new window) that went undetected for months. as such Watchman According to reports, Russian agents are suspected of being responsible for the highly complex process that saw more than 18,000 private and government users download a contaminating software update. The attack means that the hackers were able to read the internal emails of various government agencies.

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Meanwhile, the British government has been pressured to urgently investigate reports that former Prime Minister Liz Truss’s phone has been hacked.(Opens in a new window) While she was Secretary of State earlier this year.

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