Security issues in Android phones running OS versions older than Lollipop have become somewhat of old news. Most of these bugs can have negative consequences for the device owner if exploited by the wrong source but thanks to recent news, it seems that some of them can actually help law enforcement and other agencies.
In a document prepared by New York District Attorney’s Office, it has been revealed that Google has the power to bypass passwords set on older versions of Android. You may be wondering that who do a bunch of attorneys care about this of all things. Well, thanks to the lack of encryption on older version of Androids, Google can now be forced to bypass the passwords on many older devices by court order. This will not only help law enforcement agencies crack some cases but it will also help them present more solid evidence against many accused criminals as almost 70% device run Android Jelly Bean or lower.
That being said, owners of newer versions of Android shouldn’t really feel safe either as if they don’t have full data encryption enabled on their device, Google can potentially remotely bypass their set passwords as well. I know for a lot of people who have rooted devices, having fully encrypted devices isn’t really an option as it quite often interferes with root privileges but then again you have to give something up to gain something.
Of course, this isn’t that much new as even Apple has the same power over devices running iOS versions lower than iOS 8. This only goes to prove the point of quite a few tech security analysts who always recommend that people should regularly switch out their older phones for newer variants as well as keeping their devices up to date, which to be honest is a lot easier said than done for most people.