Google rolls out a surprise Android 4.4.4 KitKat update, fixes bugs but provides no real cosmetic changes.
Google rolled out Android 4.4.3 KitKat to Nexus devices (Nexus 5, 4, 7-2013, 7-2012, and 10) earlier this month, but Mountain View surprised everyone yesterday: on a day in which things seemed to amount to “business as usual,” Google released an incremental Android 4.4.4 KitKat update. Since the Nexus 5 is Google’s latest smartphone that was announced 8 months ago, the Nexus 5 should be the very first device to receive the 2.5MB update (yes, 2.5MB; you read it right). The Nexus 7 (2013) as well as it’s older counterpart (the 2012 Nexus 7) will both get the update, as well as the older Nexus 4.
The update (as said above) is only 2.5MB, and brings bug fixes. One vulnerability in particular to be patched up by the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update involves encryption security in OpenSSL. According to sources familiar with the matter, the new OpenSSL vulnerability isn’t really new; it’s been around for 16 years, since the beginning of OpenSSL as we know it. The vulnerability allows hackers to modify Web data after it leaves the sender and before it arrives at the recipient. In order for the vulnerability exploit to take place, both the sender and recipient must have the OpenSSL bug. Android Engineering Program Manager Sascha Prüter pointed out that this new OpenSSL vulnerability is now sealed thanks to the Android 4.4.4 KitKat update. On his Google+ page, Prüter points out that there are some other security fixes – but he doesn’t name any. If you want to check out the specific bug fixes, the changelog will arrive in the next day or two. The Sprint Nexus 5 Android 4.4.4 KitKat update is now available, so you’re in luck if you’ve got Google’s latest with the national carrier.
Overall, you won’t see any cosmetic changes with Android 4.4.4 KitKat. Android 4.4.3 KitKat brought a change to the Nexus 5 phone dialer and contacts layout, but that’s about it. Since 4.4.4 is very small, there won’t be any new layout changes to enjoy – but, the good news is that Google has patched up yet one more OpenSSL vulnerability, a longstanding one that has been a threat to users for nearly two decades. Sometimes, security and protection matter more than stylistic design changes.
Have you downloaded your Android 4.4.4 KitKat update? Did the update fix some GPS, Wi-Fi, or other issues you were having with your Nexus device – or did it create some new ones? Let us know in the comments below.