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Is iOS Really More Secure Than Android?

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Saturday, May 3rd, 2014


When it comes to overall mobile operating system market share, Android clearly lead the race with over 70% market penetration. However, Android is also considered as the favorite target of hackers and criminals since a vast majority of viruses and malwares target are designed for it. But is iOS really superior to Android as far as the mobile security is concerned? In this informative article, we will try to answer this question.

By the Numbers

According to the latest security reports, almost 80% of the total mobile security threats targeted Android whereas only 0.7% of were designed to infect iOS based devices. What’s more, there has not been a single instance of a non-jailbroken iOS device getting infected with a virus or malware. So as far as number of security threats is concerned, iOS is clearly the more secure mobile OS option.

Hardware Security

With iOS, there is a tight integration between Operating system and hardware. Since Apple maintains total control over its hardware and software, the chances of getting a security flaw introduced within its supply line are pretty remote. On the other hand, Android provides total flexibility to manufacturers so they are free to customize the OS as per their needs. While this makes it possible to introduce a lot of innovative features, it could also lead to security challenges that are present only within a particular brand of mobile device or a customized version of Android being used by a particular manufacturer. So while Android scores well on customization, it loses on security.

Security Features

As far as built-in security features are concerned, iOS supports single sign-ons, biometric authentication, data encryption for third party apps, the ability to route apps through VPNs and even offers advanced MDM support. On the other hand, Android devices come bundled with tight access controls, cryptography support as well as tools to deal with buffer overflows and digital certificate warnings. In addition, some Android devices come equipped with an enhanced kernel and support secure booting process. In the last few years, both iOS and Android have drastically improved their security features and the trend is expected to continue in the future as well.

Apps Security

Just like its hardware and software, Apple maintains a tight control over what kind of apps become available to the customers. All third party apps need to be verified and approved by Apple before they can be sold or distributed through the iTunes store. On the other hand, Google is pretty liberal and allows app developers to publish applications without strict quality checks so the chances of rogue applications making into the Google Play store are significantly high.

In addition, Apple doesn’t offer its API to app developers thus protecting virus and malware creators from exploiting the security loopholes still present with the OS. On the other hand, Android is an open source project so hackers are free to discover security problems and exploit them for their own advantage.

Conclusion

Overall, it does seem that iOS is more secure than Android. This is not only due to tight integration between the software and the hardware but also because of a more secure app ecosystem. However, no operating system is perfect so users are advised to use security solutions like anti-virus tools, firewalls and VPNs to protect their data and privacy.


May 3, 2014
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