Google’s Android vs. Apple’s iOS: Which Is More Secure?
If you’re using a smartphone or any other mobile device today, chances are good the device is running one of two operating systems: Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS. These two mobile operating systems account for nearly all new smartphones purchased in the last few years. Android and iOS account for 99 percent of the mobile operating system market share. Will Android and iOS devices be able to implement the necessary security measures to keep up with a flourishing digital marketplace? If so, which operating system will come out on top?
It is obvious now that smartphones have become an integral part of our personal and professional lives. Therefore, security should be a matter of concern when we are planning to purchase a device. Do you remember the days when cybercriminals focused their attacks on desktop and laptop computers? Times have certainly changed. Today, cybercriminals are not just targeting users of desktops and laptops, they are also targeting smartphone and tablet users.
It has become even more important to make sure your mobile device is secure and that your personal information remains private. You can never be 100 percent secure on a mobile device, regardless of the platform you prefer to use. As more people use their mobile devices for a variety of purposes, cybercriminals are aiming their malware and virus attacks at iPhones, iPads, and Android devices. For many, the iOS mobile operating system has been viewed as the most secure operating system, but there are many changes that Android has tried to emulate in recent years.
Since this is where we currently stand in today’s digital landscape, it begs the question: which mobile operating system is more secure, Android or iOS?
Android vs. iOS: Risk of an Attack
For many, Apple’s iOS operating system is the clear winner when it comes to which is the more secure of the two operating systems. Why? The iOS operating system is classified as a closed ecosystem because Apple has complete control over both the software and the hardware. Apple doesn’t share its source code with app developers, and iPhone and iPad users can’t modify the code on their devices. This makes it more challenging for bad actors to find and exploit vulnerabilities on iOS-powered devices.
On the other hand, Android is an open-source operating system. This means that owners of Android devices can make modifications to the operating system. However, too many modifications may lead to security vulnerabilities. We also have to factor in the impact of manufacturers. If a device manufacturer releases a new device with modifications to the operating system and there’s a vulnerability in that code, cybercriminals will certainly find it and exploit it.
Android is often targeted by cybercriminals because there are almost twice as many active global Android devices as Apple devices. Android’s popularity makes its operating system a more attractive target for cybercriminals. Unfortunately, this makes Android devices more vulnerable to malware and viruses.
While many people will consider the iOS operating system as the most secure, this does not mean cybercriminals do not target iPhones and iPads. Android and iOS device owners must be aware of the possibility of their devices being infected with malware and viruses. It doesn’t matter what mobile operating system you prefer to use, Android and iOS devices can both be vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks.
Android vs. iOS: What Impact Does Security Have On Mobile Apps?
As mentioned, the Android operating system is widely popular. This means that new apps are constantly being designed to run on the operating system. While this may be viewed as a good thing, it does have its drawbacks. Cybercriminals can also create apps for Google’s Play Store that are designed to infect your mobile device.
While there is an app review process for Google Play, the process is not as stringent as Apple’s App Store process. Therefore, it’s easier for malicious apps to make their way into Google’s Play store. Unfortunately, this makes it easier for Android users to accidentally install a malicious app. Android users can also install applications from third-party app stores by enabling the installation of software from Unknown Sources.
It’s more difficult for developers to get apps into Apple’s App Store because Apple’s App Store review process is more stringent. Due to Apple’s stringent process, it makes it difficult for cybercriminals to create a malicious app for the App Store.
Android vs. iOS: Security Updates and Patches
It is important to upgrade your Android and iOS mobile devices to the latest version for security purposes. Security patches and updates are designed to help protect your devices against the latest security threats. Choosing to ignore these updates could put your mobile device at risk.
The number of Android devices Google serves makes it nearly impossible to keep every device updated to the same level of security. The number of active Android users also makes it harder for the needed patches and updates to be rolled out, as the patches and updates have to be distributed across multiple manufacturers and devices. Updates are not released frequently and they are not supported for an extended period of time.
Apple controls the devices in its ecosystem, so updates are easier to create and distribute. This also means that Apple can usually keep iOS devices updated for longer. When patches and updates are released by Apple, all users are encouraged to install them.
Apple and Google are aware of the ever-growing cyber- threat landscape and the possibility of hackers attacking their devices. Both software giants are taking measures to strengthen security features to eliminate the possibility of a malicious attack. However, it is necessary for device users to implement best practices when it comes to security.
iOS is viewed as the better operating system in terms of security. The general consensus gives Apple an upper hand. iOS is more consistent with updates across all devices. With Apple’s closed ecosystem, it’s harder for cybercriminals to penetrate. Regardless of your preferred device, it is important to always practice safe habits when using your device. You want a secure operating system so that your valuable data is not exposed. If you have concerns about cybersecurity and how you can ensure your data is secure on your preferred device, contact Initial.IT today.
Thanks to our friends at CEU Technologies, a top IT company in Chicago for their help with this research.