The simple (yet inherently polarizing) question “iOS or Android?” has become an argument of contention rivaling political-fueled disagreements.
Of course, both iOS and Android OS have their fair share of exclusive benefits — just as they’ve both been compromised by a number of OS-targeting malicious bugs, vulnerabilities, and viruses — though Android has historically taken the cake as the more unsafe and potentially volatile among them.
Back in 2016 it was revealed that millions of Android smartphones had been infected by the malicious Chinese-born HummingBad software bug, and, just one year later a slate of Wikileaks documents revealed that the CIA had successfully developed its own malicious software for Android devices.
David Kleidermacher — Google’s chief of security for Android, Google Play and the Chrome operating system — boldly proclaimed during a recent interview with CNET that “Android is now as safe as the competition,” including iOS.
Kleidermacher, who assumed his position with the Mountain View, CA search-giant in May, 2017, added that the Android team is “hard at work” ensuring the worries surrounding these bugs become a thing of the past.
“As Android security has matured, it has become more difficult and expensive for attackers to find high severity exploits,” Kleidermacher said within the opening paragraphs of Google’s official document — Android Security: 2017 Year in Review.
“As a global, open-source project, Android has a community of defenders collaboratively locating the deeper vulnerabilities and developing mitigations,” the report adds, taking a clear swipe at Apple’s iOS by noting “This community may be orders of magnitude larger and more effective than a closed-source project of a similar scale.”
Google’s latest Android security report, which was released on Thursday and can be read in full here, is loaded to the brim with bold claims and even appears to suggest that the Android OS, at present, is even safer and more secure than iOS.
“Android security made a significant leap forward in 2017 and many of our protections now lead the industry,” he asserted on page one.
Kleidermacher insists that Android is getting safer because, among other key reasons, Google currently offers the highest ‘by the flaw’ payout for freelance bug hunters who bring security flaws to the company’s attention. Apple, for its part, offers its dev community similar bug hunter bounty incentives offering hackers up to $200,000 if they’re able to find and identify iOS security flaws.
Google also claims that it ramped up its efforts to rid the Google Play Store of malicious app titles, while incorporating tools in the latest Android OS update designed to help “identify and turn off” malicious apps. The feature, dubbed Google Play Protect, enables Android devices to periodically scan for malicious apps while informing users who wish to download them the risks involved.