San Francisco: Consumer watchdog Which? has claimed that more than one billion Android phones and tablets are vulnerable to hackers as they no longer supported by security updates.
According to the research report, the most at-risk phones are any that run Android 4 or older and those smartphones running Android 7.0 which can not be updated are also at risk.
Based on data from Googleanalysed by Which?, two in five android device users around the world are no longer receiving the important updates. Currently, those devices are unlikely to have issues, but the lack of security leaves them open to attack.
"It is very concerning that expensive Android devices have such a short shelf life before they lose security support, leaving millions of users at risk of serious consequences if they fall victim to hackers," Kate Bevan editor Which? said in a statement.
"Google and phone manufacturers need to be upfront about security updates with clear information about how long they will last and what customers should do when they run out.
The government must also push ahead with planned legislation to ensure manufacturers are far more transparent about security updates for smart devices and their impact on consumers," Kate added.
Android phone released around 2012 or earlier, including popular models like the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Sony Xperia S, are particularly at risk to hackers.
Which? has made suggestions to Android users on what to consider if they have an older phone that may be at risk.
Any Android device which is more than two years old, check whether it can be updated to a newer version of the operating system. If it is on an earlier version than Android 7.0 Nougat, try to update via Settings> System>Advanced System update.
In case a user is not able tto update the phone, the device could be at risk of being hacked if it is running a version of Android 4 or lower.
A user also need to be careful about downloading apps outside the Google Play store and should also install a mobile anti-virus via an app.