Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Android More Secure Than iPhone, Says Google Chairman

By - Source: ZDNet | B 23 comments

Google's chairman is confident Android is the stronger platform.

Smartphones are an integral part of our lives and they have access to all kinds of sensitive data. As such, the issue of smartphone security is a growing concern among users. Is my data safe? Am I vulnerable because of my device's ecosystem? Well, if you're trying to decide on Android or iPhone, Eric Schmidt says the former is more secure.

Of course, Schmidt, a long time Googler, is somewhat biased, but it's a bold statement nonetheless. ZDNet reports that Google's chairman on Monday told attendees at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo that Android was more secure than the iPhone. This statement was made in response to Gartner Analyst David Willis's point that many people believe Android is not secure. 

"Not secure? It's more secure than the iPhone," Schmidt is quoted as saying.

Though he didn't go into much detail, Schmidt said that with over a billion users, the Android platform goes through rigorous real-world security testing. Of course, such a wide userbase means Android is an attractive target for cyber criminals (where users are or aren't users aren't downloading the malware). In August, a report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed that malicious hackers have designed 79 percent of all mobile malware to target Android systems. Rather surprisingly, iOS wasn't in second place, despite its popularity. Instead, the second most targeted system was Symbian.

Regardless of the platform you use, there are certain ways you can keep your data safe. For one, you should keep WiFi and Bluetooth turned off unless you're using them. You should also install a mobile security suite. Our own Marshall Honorof cites chief technology officer of AVG Technologies, Yuval Ben-Itzhak, as saying customers should also uninstall social networking applications. The HTML versions are easier on your battery and more secure.

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Discuss
Display all 23 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
  • 1 Hide
    stevejnb , October 8, 2013 1:27 PM
    Maybe true, in a vacuum... But this article confirms what I suspected. Even if iOS is more vulnerable in theory, there are far, far more people interested in attacking Android simply because far, far more people use it. Why chase a turkey when you could nab the goose that lays the golden egg? Beside that anyways, I'm not sure I trust the Google Chairman to accurately describe the relative security of his platform VS others.
  • 4 Hide
    michael908 , October 8, 2013 1:47 PM
    I personally believe that IOS is safer than android, just because of how restrictive it is. But Andorid is vastly superior than IOS as an operating system as a whole. Andorid is just like a computer don't go to sketchy sites, use unsecured wifi networks for personal data, download apps from third party sites that are not safe, etc. Common sense goes a lot further than being in constant lockdown.
  • -6 Hide
    Lachezar Tsochev , October 8, 2013 1:50 PM
    Erm... errr ... o.O I think he has lost it :U
    It was not long ago when iOS controlled almost the whole smartphone industry. Yet ...there were no malware or scam apps in ios app store, unlike Google Play. Some people see Apple's app policy as too harsh but I think it's okay. At least I don't second guess myself when I download an app :) 
  • 1 Hide
    Vorador2 , October 8, 2013 1:53 PM
    Apple can issue security updates to all phones, while Android might get them....when the carrier or maker of your phone feels like it.

    Just that makes Android much less secure.
  • 1 Hide
    bombebomb , October 8, 2013 1:54 PM
    Hmm, I'm a big android fan but it's hard to keep the gates shut when freedom runs the place.
  • 2 Hide
    d_kuhn , October 8, 2013 1:59 PM
    It's like the Windows vs. Apple debate's of years past (where I was firmly in the Windows camp)... but I'm not so sure the conclusion is as accurate for Apple vs. Android. When we all felt that "Security through obscurity" was what kept osx safe, apple had something like 3.5% of the PC market (obscure for sure). iOS has a substantial chunk of the smartphone market, so I wouldn't say it's particularly obscure. I think that Android is a lot like Windows however... both are open platforms that feel a bit like the wild west - and where you're expected to know enough to keep yourself safe. For me it was well worth the work to have the many advantages of windows, not so much for android... I just want my phone to work and if I've got anything complex to do I do it on a tablet, laptop, or desktop. I started with apple (iPhones up to 4) tried android (razr maxx hd) and switched back to apple recently (5)... but I can certainly understand the android love from those who like to customize their smartphones.
  • -1 Hide
    popatim , October 8, 2013 2:49 PM
    You just gotta love when someone drops a blanket statement like that in your lap ... and then qualifies it with: after you install a Security Suite and uninstall all your social apps...

    Dear Mr Chairman; Please seek professional counselling. You are living in some fantasy world.
  • 3 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 8, 2013 2:58 PM
    Both platforms have near worthless security and the user is deprived of any and all privacy using either device.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , October 8, 2013 3:21 PM
    Quote:
    Both platforms have near worthless security and the user is deprived of any and all privacy using either device.


    Curious, what kind of phone do you use?
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 8, 2013 3:37 PM
    Quote:

    Curious, what kind of phone do you use?


    An unlocked Nexus 4 with aftermarket firewall and antivirus software. Still looking for an alternative :pt1cable: 
  • 1 Hide
    house70 , October 8, 2013 3:39 PM
    I have used Android phones ever since HTC Hero (the international "chin" model) came out, with 1.5 on board.
    I have always rooted and modded my phones to my liking, and always employed common sense when choosing which apps to install and where from. NEVER had any malware/infection on any of my devices (currently own several of them).
    Currently, Android is very secure IF the end user does NOT fiddle with the security settings (like USB debugging, rooting, allowing installs from unknown sources, and the like). I have personally done all of the above, but again, I have always taken care and used common sense (and a bit of knowledge) when picking apps to install (reading the permission list always helps, as well).
    I always choose to trust my own judgement before trusting choices made for me by others (like a corporation).
    Bottom line is, you don't have to mess with the default settings on your phone just because someone you know has done it before. This way your phone will be secure enough, just use common sense and/or knowledge. If you lack both, stay the f... out of security settings section.
  • 0 Hide
    stevejnb , October 8, 2013 3:47 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:

    Curious, what kind of phone do you use?


    An unlocked Nexus 4 with aftermarket firewall and antivirus software. Still looking for an alternative :pt1cable: 


    Yeah, I was kind of wondering. Your comment was a bit like Churchill's "Democracy is the worst form of government comment" without the latter part. When you find a more secure alternative, let me know.


    *goes back to his Windows phone, which nobody cares about enough to make a virus for*
  • 0 Hide
    slomo4sho , October 8, 2013 4:10 PM
    Quote:
    *goes back to his Windows phone, which nobody cares about enough to make a virus for*


    "except for all those others that have been tried." Unfortunately, this isn't the case with smart phones. Our current options are all pretty bad, windows phones included. It won't get better until data collection becomes an opt-in instead of an opt-out. Blame your congressmen for this debacle.


    Also, when was the last time true democracy was tried? Every modern "democratic" government is actually a republic.
  • 2 Hide
    nevilence , October 8, 2013 4:13 PM
    Security is as much about common sense as it is the operating system, no operating system is fool proof, and by the same token, a fool proof operating system isnt secure without users with common sense
  • 0 Hide
    tonitelaoag , October 8, 2013 5:42 PM
    install trust go security app and your more safer, it kills apps in the background trying to do things you do not know about
  • 1 Hide
    monsta , October 8, 2013 6:37 PM
    Manufacturers push updates on their Android devices too, you don't have to wait months for Google to do it. I have had several updates from ASUS on my Transformer, many more than what Google has released.
  • -2 Hide
    CKKwan , October 9, 2013 12:33 AM
    Let your kids play with your Android phone, download some apps. And I am sure tomorrow you will need to factory restore it.
  • 1 Hide
    sonofliberty08 , October 9, 2013 2:38 AM
    Apple control everything on your iPhone, include how you use it wrong or not, when the Government had a deal with Apple, the Government can control all the thing on your iPhone too
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , October 9, 2013 5:12 AM
    Quote:
    Let your kids play with your Android phone, download some apps. And I am sure tomorrow you will need to factory restore it.


    If you create another account just for your kids, and secure your own, you'll need to do nothing tomorrow.
    Otherwise, it would be similar to letting your kids play with your PC while the admin account is logged in. Good luck with that.
    Let me see iOS do that for you. If you give your kids your iPhone, by tomorrow they;ll have about $400 worth of apps on it, ran out of memory and bogged down as hell.
  • 0 Hide
    house70 , October 9, 2013 5:18 AM
    Last but not least, if you are comparing Android with iOS, stick with Nexus or GE-edition phones. ALL Nexus and GE devices have received updates the day/week they came out.

    All the others are Android-BASED, and the responsibility for updates falls directly with the manufacturer, since they use an altered version of Android OS.

    A lot of people STILL don't get that, despite their claims of being educated on the subject. That makes this whole debate moot.
Display more comments