UPDATE: 3 April 2018. Samsung discontinues security updates for Galaxy S6 range.
The security update section of Samsung’s website has been updated again, this time with a set of even more conspicuous absences. The entire Galaxy S6 range, barring the S6 Active, will no longer be receiving Android OS or security updates of any kind.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 turns three years old this month and, whilst it’s seen a number of successors in the years since, it’s far from an outdated phone. In fact it’s still advertised for sale on Samsung’s own website. Owners aggrieved at this decision may find themselves having to say goodbye to one of Samsung’s recent classics a little sooner than expected.
15 March 2018: A selection of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones from 2016 will no longer receive free security updates, potentially leaving them exposed to Android malware.
Changes made to Samsung’s website have seen some older smartphones cut from a list of ‘current models for quarterly security updates’.
The page, dedicated to android security updates, shows two lists: devices set to receive monthly patches, and those set to receive quarterly patches.
A quick look at an archived version of the same page proves that several older smartphones have recently been shown the door:
Above: Samsung’s website in November 2017 (left) compared with today (right)
The list of changes includes the following phones, each of which is now just over two years old:
- Galaxy A3 (2016) – will no longer receive monthly or quarterly updates.
- Galaxy J1 (2016) – will no longer receive monthly or quarterly updates.
- Galaxy J3 (2016) – will no longer receive monthly or quarterly updates.
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What does Samsung say?
On its website, Samsung writes: ‘We take security and privacy issues very seriously and we are doing our best to respond as quickly as possible. Securing your device and maintaining the trust you place in us is our top priority.’
It also acknowledges: ‘The list of monthly security update models is subject to change as support periods expire. The list of quarterly security update models is subject to change and it will be reviewed on a periodic basis.’
However, these statements will be of no comfort to users who have bought one of these models since its original release – especially if they’re also still tied to a two-year contract.
The government tackles security updates
Last week, the government published its Secure by Design policy paper, emphasising the importance of keeping consumer Internet of things (IoT) and tech products secure by design.
The report notes: ‘Software updates should be provided after the sale of a device and pushed to devices for a period appropriate to the device. This period of software update support must be made clear to a consumer when purchasing the product. For constrained devices with no possibility of a software update, the conditions for and period of replacement support should be clear.’
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