Every so often I get the pleasure of announcing more malicious software being found in the Android market, or a gaping security hole being revealed, or Google’s Android systems in some other way demonstrating that they are about as trustworthy as your average Dish TV salesperson. But studies, security groups, and other sources of analysis are continuing to teach us a clear lesson: Android has some security problems and the number of attacks faced by Android are only likely to increase over time.
But why are we picking on Android? Is Apple really the better option when it comes to security? No offense to Google, but yeah, basically, iOS is just more secure. That’s because of a few key difference between Android and iOS:
- Apple controls both their hardware and their operating systems, which lets them push out security updates and patches immediately to all devices. Google, meanwhile, struggles with a variety of hardware types and every carrier in the known universe, meaning that it can take monthsor even years to get an update to the newest OS version.
- While Apple vetts and curates their market heavily, Google goes off of a “let the market decide” mentality. This means that Apple finds insecure or malicious programs for you. Google lets you figure out when a program is trying to leech your personal information or light your handset on fire (metaphorically or internally).
- Android is an open source system. While that’s great in many ways, both for developers and for spreading the system, it also means that hackers and cyber-ninjas have a deeper understanding of the code they need to overcome. It’s kind of like giving the enemy army a guard shift schedule and city blueprint.
That’s not to say iOS is perfect. The Apple App Store has also had some malicious programs discovered and removed. However, Android has had (according to Mikko Hypponen of F-Secure, an anti-virus firm) “several dozen cases targeting Android over the past 12 months” that were visible enough to be worth monitoring. Better yet, thanks to the explosion of smartphoen and tablet use, you can count on mobile cyber-attacks becoming exponentially more common in the coming years.
[via USA Today]
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