Currently there’s no mobile operating system that’s in more consumers hands than Google’s Android. That being said, no mobile operating systems have more issues with Malware than Android. However, according to Google’s Eric Schmidt, Android is more secure than iOS. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you?
This comparison was made at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, during a question and answer session. The answer actually drew chuckles from the audience after the statement was made. I’m assuming the crowd was made up of both Android and iOS users, so if they’re laughing at that statement, that’s not a good sign. When an analyst from Gartner starting talking about some of the security issues within Android, Schmidt responded by saying “not secure?” “it’s more secure than the iPhone”.
When asked to elaborate, Schmidt didn’t really have a specific answer. Instead, he went on to discuss the 1 billion Android users around the world, and the real world security testing that Android goes through due to the mass amount of users. Now to Android’s credit, there have been updates in the software to make it more secure, but the security issue still rings true. Unlike with iOS where Apple has tight control over software, and has control of compatibility with most internet plugins, Google is still pretty wide open as far as to what they make available. The concern doesn’t necessarily come from Google not updating their OS, but more from admitting that there isn’t a problem in the first place.
This is where the issue of fragmentation comes in. Google flavored devices get the proper updates when they’re officially released, but what about Android devices made by other companies? Shouldn’t the customers of those devices have access to the same updates? Especially if the end user gets the benefits of updated phone security. On the PC side, Windows is fragmented too, but when Windows software gets an update, all devices running that version get the same update. Why shouldn’t Android users get the same benefit? The same argument can be made for iOS devices and Mac computers as well.
The reaction to Schmidt’s statement is pretty telling, it’s obvious to everyone except for those at the top of the Google pyramid, that there’s a leak they should probably be keeping an eye on.