Is The IPhone More Secure Than An Android Based Phone?

Over the years when it came to security on the computer, the Mac line of computers was considered more secure than the Windows equivalent. That has all changed recently but in a lot of peoples’ minds the Apple line of computers still represent security no matter what the truth is. This reputation has been passed on to the IPhone as well. Since their computers had a reputation for being secure the phones should be as well, right? In actuality the computers had an advantage over Windows computers because of the fact that they had such a low penetration rate when it came to consumer PCs. Black hat hackers like big targets to go after and Windows computers were the biggest by a lot. But this time the Apple IPhone has the large market share. Will this mean that the phone will face more security problems than the Google Android?

iphone-secure-android

That could be the case but now the Android phones are rising in popularity as well. And as their popularity has risen they have started to see a rise in malware on the phones too. If we are going by past history, the Android phone should be more secure than the IPhone since it is Linux based. But that has not been the case. We have seen more malware hit the Android operating system than we have IOS. So in this article I will take a look at which one is more secure and the reasons why.

The IPhone store is more stringent when it comes to the safety of the apps

Even though a lot of developers out there hate all of the rules that the IPhone app store places on you before you can distribute an app through there it has led to safer applications. There have been some apps with malware that have gotten through but overall they are pretty safe. If you compare that to the Android marketplace it is no contest. The Android marketplace allows anyone with $25 to upload their app and place it for distribution. There is no formal checking until someone complains about the app. Once Google starts to see that there have been several complaints, they then move in and remove the app. This is definitely a strike against Google.

But the IPhone is cracked every time an upgrade is released

Some people might argue that the IPhone operating system is cracked every time an upgrade is released so how can it be considered more secure? That is a good point but the app store still negates this vulnerability. Even with a cracked IPhone you are not able to install applications that would endanger your phone. You would have to go to a third party web site to do that.

The Android operating system is open source

An advantage that the Android operating system has over the IOS is the fact that it is open source. This means that anyone is able to download and take a look at the code behind the operating system. While this may seem like a disadvantage to some because the black hat hackers are able to look at the source code as well it isn’t because there are more good guys looking at. When the good guys see a hole, they will report it to Google and then they are able to close it on the next update. Apple is only able to use their people to audit the source code of IOS. While some of it is based on open source BSD, a lot of it isn’t and those are the parts that Apple has to find the holes before the bad guys do. So we will consider this an advantage to Android.

The web is what makes both operating systems vulnerable

So while the app store might save the IPhone from having a bunch of problems it is not the only vector that hackers have to get on the phone. The IPhone has the Safari browser which allows web users to surf the Internet just like they do on the computer. And like they do on a desktop computer, they are able to get malware from dangerous web sites that they might visit.

The web access is truly the weakness of both systems. With a web page and a little bit of JavaScript a black hat hacker is able to penetrate your phone without you having to do much.

When it comes to the security of the phones, the IOS operating system might have a slight advantage because of the app store. When you have people that check every app it is going to be a lot harder to place malware in the store. With the Google app store it is definitely a lot easier.

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.

Comments

  1. Tom Straughan says:

    Nice article Lee. One thing I think you should mention about the Android OS is the “Sandbox” application area confining malware to the app that is running. I feel that is a plus for Android

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