The first smartphone to run on Google's (STOCK QUOTE: GOOG) Android operating system -- T-Mobile's G-1 -- has run into newly identified security problems within a few days of going on sale nationwide.
According to a weekend report in The New York Times, security experts have found what they term a "serious flaw" in the Android OS. According to one of the researchers involved, Charles Miller, a former National Security Agency computer specialist, there is a flaw in the Web-browsing software that could be exploited. In this case, a hacker could divert the G-1 browser user to a rogue Web site. These attacks are similar to what unprotected computers' users face when they are connected to the Internet.
Google says its Android operating system and the G-1 phone are different from many other computers as well as advanced smartphones, including Apple's (STOCK QUOTE: AAPL) iPhone in the way they handle software applications.
Google security experts say the G-1 phone creates a series of software compartments that limit the access of an intruder to a single application. That system reportedly limits intruder access to the system's other software programs.Miller told the Times that even that system is not 100% foolproof. He believes that a rogue Web site could possibly keep track of keystrokes that a user types into the Web browser, therefore making it easy for someone to steal passwords and secret identity codes.
Google says the problem has already been addressed by its software security experts. T-Mobile has released an official statement saying that "Google is working on a browser software patch for Android. We are coordinating with Google on a plan to soon deliver this update over-the-air to customers' G-1 devices. For people currently using the phone, we do not believe this matter will negatively impact your experience with the device."