When it comes to smartphones and their operating system, two communities are always ready to go head to head with each other. These two communities are none other than the Apple community and the Android community.
Any android vs iOS security debate gets heated pretty soon, while both sides give valid points. But when it comes to the user interface, both these smartphones are unique in their own way, but when it comes to security, which phone is easier to hack?
It is said that every 17 seconds an android malware is developed by cybercriminals. With other security flaws, android is more vulnerable to hackers, whereas, on the other hand, experts claim that Apple smartphones work on the very secure and isolated iOS when it comes to data protection. With Apple’s “Erase Data” feature, it really stands out with respect to its competitors when it comes to security, but is the iPhone more secure than android?
Apple was also ordered by the federal court to create a software of sorts that would disable their “Erase Data” feature. This feature is one of Apple’s last lines of security for when someone tries to enter more than 10 wrong passcodes while unlocking an Apple device the Erase data feature wipes out all the data clean without the third person getting any data out of it. To check on accused convicts on the run and criminals that have been prosecuted, the federal court insisted on creating a “back door.”
The back door will allow the federal government to enter as many passcodes as someone wants, hence letting the feds use “brute force” to crack the passcode. On the other hand, when we talk about the fight between iOS vs android security, it is actually easier to install such a back door device on android smartphones, says Filip Chytry Director of Threat Intelligence of Avast.
Though it is easier for android devices to get a back door, it is rather difficult to design such a software for system admins, this complicates things a bit for hackers and governments, but nonetheless, it is still quite straightforward and less aggressive when someone would try to bypass the admin in these devices as compared to Apple devices.
But with regard to security and privacy, is iOS more secure than android? Let us take a deeper dive into the privacy and security measures of these two powerhouses in the software business.
There is a fine difference between “security” and “privacy”. Privacy is how data is stored and handled on the basis of user interaction with the smartphone on a network. When it comes to privacy, android and iOS both have their fair share of problems.
Android users are always quick to point out the iCloud leak of Apple in 2014, where a lot of private and intimate pictures of celebrities were hacked and shared online. This affected the company severely, but ever since then, Apple has taken excruciating measures to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
However, when we talk about data handling data, Jessica Ortega, a website security analyst at the city of Scottsdale, Arizona.-based cloud-based security firm SiteLock said, “When it comes to privacy, Android is still the second choice,” she said. “Android’s requirement that data on mobile devices be transmitted to Google servers and used for targeted advertising and building a user profile makes Android the more customizable, but less private mobile operating system.”
On the other hand, Apple has been very transparent and vocal about its commitment to data privacy. They prefer and encourage storing data locally on devices and less on the clouds to prevent targeted ads and other data exploitations.
By now, we are well aware that android collects and sells more data to advertisers than anyone else. But which is easier to get hacked and is more likely prone to get cyber attacked? The answer to this is Apple once again. This is because Apple is very cautious when it comes to the apps being sold on the App Store, due to this scrutiny, less legitimate and shady applications do not get made for their phones.
Android prides itself on being an open-source interface as compared to its competitor. Thus, their Play store has a wide range of applications for all and every purpose. Because of this, every once in a while, a virus or malicious application slides into the store and infiltrates devices where the app is downloaded. This is a huge reason why there are more android viruses made.
In August 2018, Google removed at least 145 Android applications from the Play app store after a security firm called Palo Alto Networks informed Google that there were many infected and malicious content infiltrating users and stealing data. Google’s Android platform is also known to be an open-source that has a much more accessible development platform and Play store. This allows many web developers to create content and applications for Android smartphones easily.
This also gives users a good deal of access to customize their devices easily and freely, leaving certain security details vulnerable. But Apple has a much more restrictive development platform, which restricts all sorts of developers to create malicious content. Also, Apple phones cannot be customized enough for users, leaving its security stoic and firm, leaving iOS devices and iPhones harder to hack.
Another reason why android phones can be easily hacked is its software updates. Android updates are infrequent and oftentimes late. In July 2015, a security researcher found a bug in the code of the Android user interface that left almost 950 million devices vulnerable to hackers.
“Google still has very little control over software updates, and Android users are basically at the mercy of their carriers and phone manufacturers when it comes to getting updates or new operating system versions,” Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, a security reporter at VICE’s Motherboard, openly wrote in his article ‘Goodbye, Android,’ explaining why he preferred shifting to iOS.
In addition to that, the American Civil Liberties Union filed an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission requesting them to investigate wireless carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T Mobile, for not informing their customers that their device could be running without critical security updates.
With software evolution happening daily, and new decentralized technologies coming up this decade, encryption security is the minimum of what software telco companies have to offer their users. But the answer to the question that are iPhones more secure than androids or in other words which smartphone is harder to hack, is the Apple iPhone.