The prevalence of different versions of Android is not an impedement to fixing security problems, it seems. After reports surfaced that almost all Android users are vulnerable to a wifi security exploit, some folks jumped to the conclusion that Google couldn't fix the problem. That's because carriers and phone makers have dragged their heels about rolling out Android upgrades. Most users remain on versions 2.2 or 2.1, not the more recent 2.3.
"I'm sure most Android handsets will be updated to version 2.3.4 or later very soon, so no worries," snarked Daringfireball's John Gruber. (UPDATE: John backed off a few minutes after this post went up. Let's see if Harry McCracken will do the same.)
But the snide remarks assume Android security is stuck in the same sometimes lengthy upgrade cycle as Apple's iOS. Apple does not send out individual app or security updates for the iPhone, only whole operating system patches.
Android, however, can do incremental patches of apps or pieces of the OS. And for Google's cloud-based services, the fix can be done on the server side. Thus Google is closing the wifi exploit with a "global and automatic" update on its servers. Snap.
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