Android and iOS users have been harboring a traditional, unsaid enmity. While Android users usually flaunt the fact that they have a significantly larger community and a better collection of applications, iOS users show-off more premium devices and a highly secure operating system. However, if Google’s Android Security Chief is to be believed, the platform is now as secure as iOS.
Speaking at the O’Reilly Security Conference in New York City, Android’s director of security, Adrian Ludwig waxed lyrical over the security capabilities of Google Pixel. According to him,
For almost all threat models…they are nearly identical in terms of their platform-level capabilities.
And Android is not going to stop either. According to Ludwig, Google’s ecosystem may even surpass iOS in the future.
In the long term, the open ecosystem of Android is going to put it in a much better place.
Although, in all fairness, this platform has already been around for long — eight years and counting. However, Ludwig may be basing his forecasts on the fact that the ecosystem is undergoing rather faster development of late. And of course, Google Pixel and the Pixel XL are emphasizing the point even further.
Ludwig also said that Android’s built-in security product called “Safety Net” is currently scans as many as 400 million devices every day. Safety Net also scans almost almost 6 billions applications per day. This, along with the other measures integrated within Android mean that less than 1% of Android smartphone in total contain malware.
Ludwig also talked about how Google’s mobile platform’s safety capabilities have been largely misunderstood. Taking the Stagefright malware as an example, Android’s Security Director said that despite all the hue and cry that was raised, we had yet to hear of a confirmed instance of an attack.
At this point we still don’t have any confirmed instances of exploitation in the wild.
However, he also said that telephone carriers and phone manufacturers still need to improve their collaboration with Google, so that updates and security patches are delivered to smartphones on a regular basis.
We got quite a bit of work left to do to get to a point where that actually happens on a regular basis across the whole the ecosystem.
That said though, if you rock an Android, the probability of you coming under the influence of a mass attack has reduced to almost zero.
Mass exploitation is something that I’m not expecting that we’re going to see at any point in the ecosystem.