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

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

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34 Comments

1. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 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.

9. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

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

10. DukeX

Posts: 327; Member since: Aug 28, 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.

12. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 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.

26. maysider

Posts: 38; Member since: Aug 11, 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"

2. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

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

3. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

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

4. CX3NT3_713

Posts: 2359; Member since: Apr 18, 2011

Lol bullshyt

5. ilia1986 unregistered

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

6. eggimage

Posts: 83; Member since: Jan 19, 2012

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

14. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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.

17. blingblingthing

Posts: 974; Member since: Oct 23, 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.

27. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 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.

7. 9thWonderful

Posts: 232; Member since: Jan 24, 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.

15. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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

22. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 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.

8. dspkblympkbl

Posts: 52; Member since: May 23, 2013

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

11. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Those are all gimmicky pseudo security.

13. tttony

Posts: 29; Member since: Jul 22, 2012

Come on!! We know that is BS!!! blog.gdatasoftware.com/blog/article/android-malwar​e-barometer-shows-that-a-storm-is-brewing.html

16. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 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....

19. tttony

Posts: 29; Member since: Jul 22, 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

31. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

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

20. 9thWonderful

Posts: 232; Member since: Jan 24, 2013

^^^huh?

30. xfire99

Posts: 1206; Member since: Mar 14, 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.

21. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

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

24. GadgetsMcGoo

Posts: 168; Member since: Mar 15, 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.

23. Omar-BHR95

Posts: 184; Member since: Dec 23, 2012

LOL...

25. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Yes, he's correct.

28. HockeyDood

Posts: 80; Member since: May 14, 2010

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

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