Is Android really more secure than iOS (as Eric Schmidt claims)?

Jason Yeaman

No it is not. While no mobile operating system has a monopoly on security, the premise on which Android is deployed by Google is the anthesis of security.

The device is designed to harvest data points based on your behavior…where ever you go, polling everything you do. Then that data is warehoused until good trending metrics can provide a reason for Google to sell it to an advertiser…who will then attempt to sell you stuff based on the data profile your Android handset created. your Android handset created.

Gkyn Williams

An individual owning an Android phone is far more likely to encounter problems from malware. It is commonplace on Android for applications to install systems which can violate user privacy.

From the Department of Homeland Security.

This is why:
Signed Applications
On iOS – all apps must be signed by Apple. Each of those apps has to undergo a check for functionality as well as for security.

On Android play, malevolent software is accepted, and only removed if reported. Furthermore individuals can bypass the requirement for signed apps.

Restricted Priveledges
There’s also a difference in the system software.
iOS intentionally limits what each app is able to do. These limits prevent malevolent activity.

Android is far less restricted, so apps can access more and change more without the system blocking them.

Sluggish Updates
Consumers with Android handsets cannot get them updated b Google. So the vast majority of handsets are running old versions of the software with known security holes. Apple sends out frequent updates directly to end users. This means those holes that existed are rapidly closed.

Vendor Modification
Finally, Google’s software is modified by vendors with skins and additional features. These modifications often introduce further security issues on to the device.

I am not sure what Mr. Schmidt was smoking when he said this. But the audience laughed out loud.

Matt Wassermann

Android is, from a practical perspective, inherently insecure. There simply isn’t any means by which most users will ever be able to upgrade or install security patches. And there is no organized structure for developing and deploying patches to existing versions.

It’s not the fault of the OS, but of the distribution model and the chuckleheads who manage most of it (carriers).

IOS has better security baked in, if for no other reason than anyone with an iPhone can get the latest, best version of the OS just by plugging into iTunes. I imagine the number of users on the latest version is somewhere north of 90%.
Written 8 Oct, 2013.

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