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11/30/2011

Android makes huge gains in Canada, but beware security risks

Google’s mobile operating system Android has grabbed a huge chunk of the Canadian smartphone share, but the news comes as fresh (and serious) security concerns surface.

According to statistics compiled by comScore, about 36 per cent of Canadian smartphone users sport a BlackBerry – but that’s down about 6 per cent from June of this year.

Apple had 30.1 per cent market share while Android clinched 25 per cent of the market – up more than double from 12 per cent in June.

While one expert told The Canadian Press that “Canada is still a BlackBerry nation,” Android annihilated the scene with such drastic growth.  

So the news isn’t so bad for RIM in Canada – especially compared to recent numbers out of the U.S. which show that BlackBerry usage down there is tanking like the stock markets in the past few weeks.

But it’s not all good news for Android.

Science Daily is reporting that a researcher found a way for hackers to take advantage of a glitch. Some manufacturers put a ‘skin’ on the phone’s interface (like HTC’s Sense UI or Samsung’s TouchWiz) that opens a “backdoor” which hackers could exploit.

How exactly? They could possibly monitor text messages, phone calls, emails and even change settings on the phone.

This could happen if a user (unknowingly) installs software that has some malicious code hidden within. Since Android is such an open platform, nobody is approving apps before they’re published. Anybody could make a flashlight app that could be hijacking your data.

Some good news, however, is that this security threat doesn’t appear on phones running ‘pure’ versions of Android. So a handset like the Google Nexus would be safe.

To protect yourself, a good bet is to download the most popular apps. Better yet – get some security software like Norton Security.

What type of smartphone do you have?

- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets

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Danny BradburyDanny Bradbury

Danny Bradbury is a technology journalist with 20 years' experience. He writes regularly for publications including the Guardian, the Financial Times, the Financial Post, and Backbone magazine. Danny also writes and directs documentaries.

Maurice CachoMaurice Cacho

Maurice Cacho is a Toronto-based journalist mixing his love for tech with a passion for news. He's also CP24's Web Journalist and appears daily on CP24 Breakfast and weekly on the channel's tech show, Webnation, discussing tech news and trends.

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