Millions of Android tablets are at risk of being hacked because they run on Kit-Kat

Tens of millions of Android tablets have gone years without security updates and could be at risk of being hacked. In some cases, both Google (the author of the Android OS) and the tablet vendor have pulled support for the device.

According to the latest operating system share data released by the market volume analytics company, 13% of tablets (that's one in every eight) are still running Android 4.4, which is almost seven years old.

The last time this version of Android received a security update was in October 2017, when a fix was released for four vulnerabilities, two of which were considered critical.

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Other 4.x variants (Android 4.0 to Android 4.3) account for another 3% of tablets, while Android 5.x (Lollipop) devices account for nearly 10% of users, making it the second most popular Android variant.

Built-in deprecation?

Up to a billion Android smartphones are still running version 6.X or older, and non-updated devices are at significant risk of malware infection.

Critics have pointed to the fact Android devices have a significantly shorter shelf life compared to other operating systems like Windows 7 or Windows 10.

It wasn't too long ago that tablets were hailed as the rightful heir to the laptop throne, spawning countless articles about why "they were better than laptops" (although this fell short).

Android tablets running Android 4.4 (aka Kit-Kat) were the first to truly bring the very best of Android to a slate form factor, with features that are now considered the de facto standard.

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Popular tablets that run on the Android 4.x platform include the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 7.0, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 LTE, the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet with LTE, the Samsung Google Nexus 10 and the original NVIDIA Shield Tablets.

Owners of older Android tablets would be wise to check for updates, back up data, and protect their devices with antivirus services.

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