Love it or hate it, not only is iOS more secure than Android today, but its position as the front runner in security will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
1. Open vs. Closed Architecture.
There is a core philosophical difference in how iOS and Android platforms are run…
Android is mostly an open platform, with lots of unrestricted freedom for developers and users alike. Customization is king. This makes sense because Google is an advertisement company. Their goal is to get Android on every physical device possible: phones, flat-screen TVs, toasters, anything. So open customization helps fuels widespread compatibility.
Apple’s philosophy, on the other hand, is all about creating an experience of exclusivity and quality. So they control far more about their platform, both for their users and their developers. Regulation is king. This has obvious implications for security, as the platform that is permissive is far more likely to allow opportunities for mischief than one that is restrictive.
The past/current security of Apple’s App Store versus the Google Play Store has proved this point. A recent mobile malware study found that over 90% of malware was created for Android, and that malware for iOS was “noticeably lower” in comparison. The study went on to say that attackers favored Android because it was easier to get malware coded into apps through the Google Play Store.
2. Size of Market Share
Apple fans often try to wiggle out of it, but Android is simply crushing iOS in terms of growth. Several recent statistics have showed that Android’s market share increased from 59% of all smartphones sold in the first quarter of 2012 to 75% of all smartphones sold during the same time period in 2013. Staggering!
Unfortunately for Google and Android users, this not only doesn’t help security, it undeniably harms it. As any good cyber security expert knows, a platform’s security vulnerabilities only partially come from it’s own weaknesses. The more important question is: Where is the attention of the world’s most motivated crackers and cyber criminals?
Quite simply, when the goal of these cyber criminals is to make money, their primary focus will be on the platform with the most users and the most growth. And this, more than any other reason, is what makes Google’s Android an increasingly insecure platform when compared to the Apple’s iOS.
With just a over half of the overall market share of smartphones, Android already has over 90% of the malware, and their market share lead is on the rise. When Android has 75% of the market share, and Google still has its goal of making android compatible and customizable for every device possible at all times, so they can broaden their ad network, etc., what do you think their malware market share will grow to?
Again, attackers go where the users are.
Even if iOS were less secure as an operating system it’d be a more secure platform simply due to market share, especially going forward. And when you add on top of that the fact that Apple is actually more restrictive with iOS’s security policies, it becomes quite obvious: If you care about mobile security, Apple’s iOS is the platform for you.
Photo by: Nerd on Call