Google Boss Claims Android more Secure than iOS

by Matt Klassen on October 9, 2013

Call it a pipedream, call it rose-coloured glasses, but speaking at the annual Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on Monday Google CEO Eric Schmidt made a controversial statement about his company’s Android operating system, claming that “It’s more secure than the iPhone.” The bold and misguided assertion came while Schmidt was being pressed on the issue of Android security, one of the most serious extant concerns surrounding the little green droid and one that we’ve covered here at length over the years.

While Schmidt didn’t offer any explanation as to what he based his opinion of Android on, the comments, not surprisingly, have ruffled many feathers among the iOS camp, particularly given the fact that Schmidt’s claim seems to fly in the face of all available data about mobile malware.

To wit, a report from Homeland Security released in August indicated that almost 80 percent of all mobile malware targeted Android, while less than one percent of mobile malware threats were aimed at Apple’s iOS. With this in mind, I suppose we can only assume that Schmidt has a completely different definition of the word ‘secure’ than the rest of us do.

While the report from Homeland Security painted a dire picture of Android security, the real damning critique came earlier in the summer when Juniper Networks released its third annual Mobile Threat Report. In the report it was found that a staggering 92 percent of all detected malware was aimed at Android, and given the fact that Android currently holds a 60 percent mobile market share, that’s a lot of phones with a lot of problems.

So where does Schmidt get off claiming that Android is more secure than iOS? First, as the Juniper report indicated, more than three quarters of Android malware could be eliminated if users downloaded the latest Android OS updates from Google, and given the fact that only about 4 percent of Android users have the latest OS, well you can see the problem.

Second, such a controversy will undoubtedly remind many of us of the security battle played out between Windows and OSX, with Apple claiming that due to the sheer amount of malware targeted to Windows computers that its brand was more secure, with Microsoft arguing it was all a numbers game, more people had Windows which meant more hackers targeted Windows. If OSX had the same popularity, it would have the same problems.

As the Juniper report made clear, all operating systems can be exploited, including Apple’s iOS. “Theoretical exploits for iOS have been demonstrated, as well as methods for sneaking malicious applications onto the iOS App store. But cyber criminals have by and large avoided Apple’s products in favor of the greener pastures offered by Google Android,” Juniper’s report reads. “This does not mean that iOS is more secure than Android.”

But does any of this give support to Schmidt’s claim that Android is more secure than an iPhone running iOS? With the malware numbers clearly pointing at serious vulnerabilities in older versions of Android, I would say at best this debate might be a wash, with both platforms vulnerable to malware attacks, with Android targeted more simply because of its ubiquitous saturation across the worldwide mobile market. At worst, however, the numbers just don’t add up to support Schmidt’s claim, as while Android does hold three (3) times the mobile market share iOS does, reports indicate it also accounts for eighty (80) times the malware threat, meaning something just doesn’t add up.

Did you like this post ? TheTelecomBlog.com publishes daily news, editorial, thoughts, and controversial opinion – you can subscribe by: RSS (click here), or email (click here).

Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

Previous post:

Next post: