The Privacy Debate: Apple vs Android

Laura BednarCybersecurity and Vulnerabilities, HackingLeave a Comment

Android Apple Security

Much like in the debates of cats or dogs; Mac or PC; or pineapple belonging on pizza, consumers chose sides when it comes to Apple versus Android devices. While a common belief is that Apple products are more secure, a recent article states that a digital forensic examiner said Androids may be the more secure choice.

The article quoted Detective Rex Kiser, who conducts digital forensic examinations for the Fort Worth Police Department. He explained that currently, the examiners have a more difficult time getting into Android devices, while they can crack into any iPhone up to and including iPhone X.

A tool called Cellebrite can pull information from iOS devices including GPS records, messages, call logs, contacts, and data from apps like Twitter and Instagram. That same tool was less successful with Android encryption and could not retrieve data from social media outlets, internet browsing, or GPS data. While this is a feather for security in Android’s cap, both Apple and Android devices have their privacy downfalls.

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An Apple a Day Keeps the Hackers Away?

Pros

Apple CEO, Tim Cook, has spoken about the company’s commitment to privacy at several events and conferences. They assure users that the information on the phone never leaves the device and that they put privacy at the forefront of their operations. In many respects, their statement holds true.

By design, Apple products have a closed system, meaning that source code is not released to app developers and users can’t modify and code on the device itself. With fewer developers involved, it’s harder for hackers to find vulnerabilities that would normally be found from several source codes that are produced by multiple developers.

Another point in their favor is the stringent review process for allowing apps into their App Store. This process makes it less likely that malicious apps will find their way into the store. iOS operating systems generally power fewer mobile devices, deterring hackers from targeting them.

Cons

While the tech giant does offer regular updates to ensure the security of devices, it comes at a large cost to the user. In some cases, the updates won’t work on older iOS devices. The obsolescence and lack of capacity on these older devices mean a consumer must buy the latest version of the iPhone to ensure they are protected. It comes as no surprise that these newest phones and tablets are somewhat costly.

Additionally, iOS devices keeping all information within the phone makes it much easier for those with the proper knowledge and tools to access information. Case and point, the digital forensic examiner who found that his team could access more data on an Apple phone than an Android.

Are Androids a Little Too Open-Sourced?

Pros

Much of Android’s security measures have moved within the Google Play Store, allowing Google to check for malware and implement updates regardless of the operating system. Many of the newer Android devices include 2-factor authentication for the user. The newer Samsung devices take it a step further with Knox Security chips built into the device. Features on this chip include data isolation, encryption, and run-time protection to keep your data from falling into the wrong hands.

Cons

Androids rely on open-source code so owners can change the OS on their device. This code opens the devices up to vulnerabilities and can become dangerous if developers continue to use unsafe tools when creating systems. The Android systems are also more popular, which in turn also attracts hackers. Finally, many Android phones and tablets are running older software that is vulnerable to attacks. Updates are not mandatory for older models such as in the case of Apple.

Choosing the Right “A” Team

Both Apple and Android have their shortcomings as well as their security benefits. Overall, neither is completely protected from outside attacks such as phishing attempts and vulnerable third-party apps. The device protection only goes so far, and then it is up to the user to proceed with caution. It may be that there is no phone or tablet out there that offers a complete bubble of protection against cyber threats.

Privacy has become a hot button topic, especially in the digital world. However, there are solutions available for when your digital privacy becomes compromised. Secure Forensics employs certified examiners to search for evidence of cybercrimes on all device types. We will produce court-admissible evidence of crimes like identity theft, fraud, and data breaches among others. Call 1-800-288-1407 to see how Secure Forensics can help you.