Android is often thought of as being a less secure platform than iOS, but according to one Google engineer, that’s simply not the case.
Adrian Ludwig, director of security for Android, recently said that he believes that Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL are “for sure” equal to Apple’s iPhone when it comes to security. Ludwig explained that Android’s built-in “Safety Net” checks 400 million devices and 6 billion apps per day for their security, which when combined with other exploit mitigation features, means that a very small number of Android devices contains malware.
Ludwig also touched on Stagefright, an Android exploit that gained a lot of attention in 2015. The exploit had the potential to affect nearly all Android devices, but Ludwig says that Google has never seen a a real-life Android phone affected by Stagefright.
Finally, Ludwig looked ahead, saying that carriers and phone makers need to get better at pushing updates and security patches. “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 ecosystem,” he said. However, he does feel that Android is secure enough that it’s nearly impossible for anyone to exploit a large number of devices at once.
As I said before, many people think of Android as being less secure than iOS due to the high-profile exploits that pop up from time to time, the large number of Android device makers, and how updates can take a long time to reach some devices, if they ever do. Google has been working to change that lately, though, by doing things like pushing out monthly security updates. Some device makers have done the same, and while Ludwig is right that there’s still some work to be done when it comes to getting all parties to push out updates in a timely manner, Google is definitely working to make Android as secure as it can.