Revealed just after the unmitigated disaster that was the PSN crash, research carried out the University of Ulm has discovered that any Android smartphone running a version older than 2.3.4 could be leaking sensitive personal data.
The research discovered that when connecting to the internet through a wireless network or using certain Android applications -- including some that come pre-loaded on most Android handsets -- smartphones running on an older version of the OS could at points send out personal information including password authentication tokens, in a clear rather than encrypted format.
The research identified the compromised authentication tokens as a particularly hazardous risk.
Authentication tokens are the passwords used to regularly access websites or applications that require the user to go online and can be active for up to 14 days.
Because the tokens aren't attached to the specific handset from which they originate, were a hacker to get a hold of one and information stored on it, they could potentially use it elsewhere on a different handset or device. The consequence of this is that if used correctly the hacker could remotely enter into parts of the victim's Android account.
While the research garnered no specific evidence to demonstrate whether such cyber attacks were occurring, considering the fact that Google has estimated that around 99 percent of its handsets are running on a version older than 2.3.4, the discovery itself presents a troubling set of possible scenarios.
With no clear evidence that such attacks are occurring and Google constantly updating its smartphones to the newer, secure versions of its OS, it is possible that the company will choose to ignore the research's findings and take no action.
If this is the case then in the very near future consumers may well find themselves see history repeat itself, with it being Google rather than Sony in the firing line over losing its customers personal data.
Google has not released any official statement addressing the findings of the research.