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Eric Schmidt says Android is "more secure than the iPhone"

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Eric Schmidt says Android is
Security is a very complicated issue, especially when it comes to platforms that are still changing as fast as they are in the mobile space. The general consensus is that Android is the least secure of the mobile options, although the reasoning there doesn't always hold very well. Google has been on a bit of a mission recently to regain control of the security narrative, and today Google's Eric Schmidt even went so far as to say that Android is "more secure than the iPhone".

This comment came soon after Google's recent claim that less than .001% of malware evades Google's multi-layer security to actually cause real harm to Android users. Schmidt was responding to a question from Gartner analyst David Willis where he was asked to react to people saying that Android isn't secure. Schmidt quickly responded with "Not secure? It's more secure than the iPhone."

Unfortunately, Schmidt didn't really explain his answer at all. He did mention Android's one billion activations (which doesn't include non-Google Androids where the majority of malware resides), and Android's security testing. The argument is a complicated one for a couple of reasons. First, there is a general misunderstanding about open source software, which people claim is less secure, but is actually more secure. However, because of Android's policy to allow users to sideload apps, and the huge number of Android devices that rely on sideloading because they don't include Google Play Services, there is an issue with malware. 

So, if we're talking about Android devices with Google Play Services, the argument could definitely be made that it is as secure as iOS in that the biggest threats come from users who bypass all security. Of course, Google may need to come up with a better way to convey that idea, because there are a lot of users around the world that use non-Google Android, and don't have the same security options in app stores. 

Schmidt didn't mention issues arising from a lack of device upgrades from manufacturers, which could pose security risks, but he did also argue against the idea of fragmentation, because as he said, "With Android we have an agreement for vendors that you keep the Android stores compatible and that is a great breakthrough for Android," because the apps work everywhere. This is a big key for Android as compared to Linux in general, where apps don't always work across distributions. Although, as we've argued before, and as you can see with this right here, "fragmentation" is an annoying term because it encompases so many different problems with different causes and remedies. 

source: ZDNet via The Verge

35 Comments
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posted on 07 Oct 2013, 21:56 9

1. sprockkets (Posts: 1365; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


Unless we have a bit more context, I'm calling BS on you Schmidt, and I really like Android.

This guy really says the stupidest stuff for Google. I tend to think he's the main reason why Google does stupid, if near creepy "evil" stuff.

About the only evidence to support his remark would be a report from sometime ago showing there are less open security bugs on Android than iOS.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:32 1

9. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 167; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Clearly he relies on real BlackBerry Security to hide his real creepy "evil" stuff from potentially getting out. LOLZ

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:33 3

10. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


Need i mention Balmer? I'd take Eric's word quicker than i would balmer. Remember he said android is wild and crazy? Look at windows. And the iphone is just a target for hackers and malware because they know that people are nore willing to spend money on apps in Ios. That's where apples app revenue bites them at.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:40 1

12. Napalm_3nema (Posts: 1278; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


What isn't mentioned in this excerpt is the crowd laughed when he said it. Not the best reaction he could have hoped for, I'm sure.

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 00:25 2

26. maysider (Posts: 38; Member since: 11 Aug 2013)


But everything is more secure than iPhone.....iPhone can hack even a child

"Apple iOS Apps Leak More Personal Info Than Android".
"iPhones most vulnerable among smartphones"
“40% of iOS popular apps invade your privacy without any permission"

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 21:57 2

2. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 167; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Did any one ask if someone has managed to pry the BlackBerry out of Eric Schmidt's grips yet?

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:04 2

3. androiphone20 (Posts: 1522; Member since: 10 Jul 2013)


okay let's be honest he just had to say that that's why he didn't care explain much

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:15 2

4. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 2010; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)


Lol bullshyt

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:19 10

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Considering that you can bypass an iphone passcode screen - yeah - Android is more secure than iphone.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:19 6

6. eggimage (Posts: 69; Member since: 19 Jan 2012)


yeeaaahhh, ssuuuurrreeeee..
justin bieber's the real king of pop too

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:48 4

14. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Well android was found to posses a much lesser amount of vulnerability compared to the last iOS version, the term "secure" its a subjective word.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:56

17. blingblingthing (Posts: 459; Member since: 23 Oct 2012)


You have the pass word screen bypass, the charger port over take, the web browser Hole SMS issue with iPhone. I only recall one vulnerability with android.

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 00:44

27. joey_sfb (Posts: 3265; Member since: 29 Mar 2012)


And that is? one vulnerability with Android.

I do hope Google focus on supporting enterprise security standards. Android hardware should allow this by now.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:25 2

7. 9thWonderful (Posts: 232; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)


okay, so if users can bypass all security...then...doesn't that make Android less secure? you can't say this particular aspect of your software is as secure as your competitors if it isn't secure as a whole.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:52 1

15. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Android users can't bypass the security, at least not my normal means (root will be needed for that) but users are given an option (check box) to install applications outside of Google play (mostly for beta testing applications, and it also sends a log for Google to analyze a potential threat.... If you have Google services) while I could agree that the placement of the check box night not be the best ever it doesn't have much to do with actual OS security

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 23:52 1

22. Whateverman (Posts: 3233; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Well, not really. Think about Android the way you would a home. You can make a home very secure by locking the doors, locking the windows, turning on the alarm system, buying a gaurd dog, etc... but if you put the key under the door mat with the security code and dog treats, then yeah! Security has been drastically compermised. Android has all the security it needs built in, but people have got to do their part to protect their devices by NOT bypassing the security measures.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:31 1

8. dspkblympkbl (Posts: 51; Member since: 23 May 2013)


Annd apple is just coming out with fingerprint sensor, when android has had face unlock for years.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:38 5

11. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 167; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Those are all gimmicky pseudo security.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:45

13. tttony (Posts: 27; Member since: 22 Jul 2012)


Come on!! We know that is BS!!!

blog.gdatasoftware.com/blog/article/android-malwar​e-barometer-shows-that-a-storm-is-brewing.html

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:54 2

16. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


That's not nesesary true, Eric talks mostly about devices that come with Google services (and are accounted on their database) devices in China with no Google play or other services are usually the ones hanging with the viruses....

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 23:03

19. tttony (Posts: 27; Member since: 22 Jul 2012)


You are right about that, but I mostly refer to fake apps on GP like:

gottabemobile.com/2013/09/20/google-needs-manage-p​lay-store-management-fake-bbm-apps-confuse-custome​rs/

There are many fake apps on GP that even has good rating

Here a fake app:

play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.samuel.a​pp.wifihackpassword

Even say that is a fake app and the people keep downloading

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 06:28

31. protozeloz (Posts: 5381; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Fake app =/= malware most are just fake apps looking for attention

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 22:57 2

18. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


Pentagon told me to leave this here
http://m.csoonline.com/article/732794/pentagon-nod-shows-android-can-be-as-secure-as-blackberry?mm_ref=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Fm%3Fq%3Diphone%2Bless%2Bsecure%2Bthan%2Bandroid%26client%3Dms-opera-mini-android%26channel%3Dnew

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 23:07

20. 9thWonderful (Posts: 232; Member since: 24 Jan 2013)


^^^huh?

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 01:36

30. xfire99 (Posts: 570; Member since: 14 Mar 2012)


Malware exists in all OS and doesnt mean it can easily infect the device. All androids users that got infected, are themself to blame, if choose to install from unknown sources and if just install direct from Google play. Chances to get infected by malware is very low.
Chinese android devices comes with root directly from manufacture and risk is higher there also.
But its handmade error, if got infected and not because android is unsecure.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 23:27 3

21. Shatter (Posts: 2031; Member since: 29 May 2013)


What isn't open source? Windows. What is open source? Linux. We should all know which of the 2 is more secure.

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 00:07 1

24. GadgetsMcGoo (Posts: 167; Member since: 15 Mar 2013)


Correct. Open source is said to be more secure... but only if there are people doing something about it. Clearly there aren't enough of the actual action of doing something about it at this time. Perhaps way in the future .... if and when enough people care about doing something about it.

posted on 07 Oct 2013, 23:57

23. Omar-BHR95 (Posts: 184; Member since: 23 Dec 2012)


LOL...

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 00:10 2

25. itsdeepak4u2000 (Posts: 2866; Member since: 03 Nov 2012)


Yes, he's correct.

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 01:02

28. HockeyDood (Posts: 69; Member since: 14 May 2010)


Geez, I wish I could be that blissful...

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 01:15 1

29. Trex95 (Posts: 571; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


LOL Since when!

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 07:29 1

32. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


First impressions and naivety get carried a long way. Far too many people cry fragmentation but only because they heard about it 2 or 3 iterations of the OS previously. Most of the fragmentation is just haters spewing FUD just because they felt Android needed ragging on. As for security, Android today isn't what it was 2 or 3 years ago, Google has done a wealth of programming to correct the issues. Just by reading a lot of the comments here it's clear that a lot of people are stuck in the distant past or just refuse to accept reality, Android is a lot more secure than what they want to believe.

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 08:16

33. harvestcellular (Posts: 26; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


Hackers will get through to anything and the technology will always be just one step behind or ahead. Not to forget, WIFI and signal hacking is still one of the easier ways to hack a data source rather than a device it's self and read all the data packets that come in and out of the phones.

posted on 08 Oct 2013, 10:37

34. Leo_MC (Posts: 601; Member since: 02 Dec 2011)


And my garden is safer than Fort Knox so come and deposit here all your gold.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 09:22

35. linaresx (Posts: 86; Member since: 13 Jun 2013)


In a related story, mother claims that her son is a "catch" and that "any girl would be lucky to marry him".

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