One of the biggest advances in online security is encryption. You've been hearing a lot about it. It's so hard to crack that the FBI is trying to compel Apple to unlock a dead terrorist's encrypted iPhone because the government can't get in.
Encryption, simplistically, is when companies like Apple scramble your information behind a password. Even if a hacker, or the government, gets past your password, they won't be able to understand what they see.
Which is why Google has been trying for years to encrypt its 1.4 billion Android devices around the world, to protect your privacy. However, Google's having a tough time encrypting Android devices.
Specifically, Android handset manufacturers say encryption slows down phone performance, and many users agree. So, many manufacturers aren't implementing encryption on the Android devices they're making.
The problem for Google is that 400 manufacturers, including Samsung and LG Electronics, make most Android phones. Google's own Nexus phones account for only a small percentage of smartphones sold around the world. That's the opposite of Apple, which makes all its iPhones. That makes it easy for them to enforce encryption on its devices.
Only 10% of Android devices are encrypted, compared to 95% of iPhones. Note: In October, Google issued a mandate to its manufacturers, stating that they must use encryption on phones running its newest operating system, Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), if the phones have sufficient memory and some other criteria. Only 2.3% of Android phones user Marshmallow. (See photo next page.)