Android is 'more secure than the iPhone' claims - wait for it - Google's chairman

Eric Schmidt, former Apple board member, former CEO of Google, and one of the all-around wackiest public speakers in modern technology has reportedly once again taken stage to flabbergast and confuse proponents of logic, reason, and truthiness everywhere. John Fontana, ZDNet:

Gartner analyst David Willis, who is chief of research for mobility and communications and who runs Gartner's Senior Research Board, said to Schmidt: "If you polled many people in this audience they would say Google Android is not their principal platform [...] When you say Android, people say, wait a minute, Android is not secure."

Schmidt didn't miss a beat, replying, "Not secure? It's more secure than the iPhone."

Schmidt's schtick is to say outrageous stuff and get attention just like I'm giving him now. He says stuff he knows that you know that he knows isn't true, but in a way that makes you think he actually believes it. The sheer preposterousness of his statements has targeted privacy, openness, and more over the years. And, frankly, since he can't get headlines by coming to the defense of net neutrality anymore, why not this, right? But here's the thing - does it even matter anymore?

He didn't cite a single source or study to back up his statement. Security is a serious topic that affects lives. It deserves better than a mic drop and move on. So, rather than belabor him, or whatever passes for his point any further, I'd rather use any attention this headline may receive to direct you to some actual, beneficial security coverage for both platforms:

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, Vector, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Android is 'more secure than the iPhone' claims - wait for it - Google's chairman

33 Comments

Besides the apps selection, it is an overall much better platform. If you disagree, you're even more deluded.

Yes. you get an opinion. But thats all it is. Why do we have these things. I have a FORD, you have a Toyota. Who really cares.

...which is, obviously, why people have been leaving that plateform in a steady stream for the past decade.

Your password was hacked 3 times? What did you do hand it to hackers for a few hours or did you write it down on a sticky and slap it on the back of your phone.

Maybe you should just give up on mobile tech altogether bruh......bc I don't even think the majority of my tech-illiterate family could manage that

When you say "hacked" do you mean someone looking over your shoulder, not here to defend either platform but it near impossible to have your password hacked on either, unless you go to the length of jailbreaking/rooting and then installing some crap onto your phone. At which point it is neither Apple's or Google's issue.

Lulz. He needs a fact check filter installed. It may well be true [I have no idea] but, as you noted, he cited no sources. :-/ #sigh

Wow, what freak Schmidt is. All the tech media should confront him on his claims...seriously. It would certainly make great headlines if nothing else :)

I just smh when I heard about a smartphone running Antivirus. As far as I know it's the only smartphone platform running it which should tell a story.

Sent from the iMore App

Proving which one is more secure is almost impossible, there are too many factors. But after using both Android 4.3 and iOS7, I feel that Android is much easier to keep secure and have an overall sense of how you are secure and what areas you got covered. While iOS7 feels more secure "out of the box" with less fiddling, so better for the average user.

Just the fact that there have been considerably more virus and malware apps in Google Play than the Apple App Store alone shows that his statement is completely wrong. Apple works hard to vette applications before they are made ready for prime time.

You're right, it has been. But if you read the article, entirely, and examine the infograph, the argument agains inherent Android security is proven: Google leaves is up to the user (albeit, with multiple warnings and alerts) to screen apps for malware. Apple screens apps for malware prior to its App Store publishing.

"Schmidt's schtick is to say outrageous stuff and get attention just like I'm giving him now." So, when Schiller says "you need 9 accounts to do what an iPhone does," that isn't asking for attention? I'd say Android doesn't even do what iOS does with the accounts he's talking about. I can *see* my backups, and verify that my photos are backed up, I can't do that with iOS. I can back my photos up to, wait for it, G+. Which is, wait for it, included with my Google account. That's with one account.

Schmidt had to say something. Showing numbers is one thing, but I agree with Illustrator Joe, there isn't really a way to compare security, Apples and Oranges.

I will say there are way more fake apps for Android than iOS, and that is a problem, but most of the issues are people who don't think about the apps they're looking at. I've helped people who bought Apps from the App Store, that were fake MS Office. They put the Word icon as their icon, and name them something like "Microsoft Office - Microsoft Word - Learning in 10 days" and charge $9.99. The "Learning in 10 days" doesn't get seen (as most people download before opening the description) as it intentionally doesn't fit in the name box. Android is similar.

It actually depends on what version of android you are talking about. They range from melted chocolate to toaster strudel YA.

Last week, Google presented data showing that they can block the vast, vast majority of malware on Android.

Summary: http://qz.com/131436/contrary-to-what-youve-heard-android-is-almost-impe...

Slide deck: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1YDYUrD22Xq12nKkhBfwoJBfw2Q-OReMr...

Essentially, between Bouncer, which runs server-side, and Google Play Service's Verify Apps, which runs client-side, 99.999% of malware was blocked. In particular, look at slides 14, 15, and 17 (17 especially). If you look at the "master key" vulnerability, for example, which the tech press hyped a few months ago, Google claims that less than 8 in 1 million app installs had this malware (and none from the Play Store).

So, I don't think Schmidt's claims are as outlandish as you've made them out to be.

One Quick Question: Considering that Android does have a malware infested apps (not all, but it does) and the fact that there's Anti-Virus Software for Android that are generating quite a lot of downloads, why does EVERY Android user claim that they have not experienced malware? Do malware apps just have a pop-up that says "This App Has Malware" or "This is a fake app, that installs data collecting client" - The way I understand it - you DON'T know that you have malware installed, or the app is not what it seems <--- isn't that the point of malware? Please, explain to me - How do you as a gadget user actually know you dont have malware or virus infected device? Android, WP8, BB (or iOS) for that matter.

It depends what type of malware it was. If it steals personal information, then you wouldn't know right away, until the thief started using your information (possibly opening credit cards with it, for example).

If it's scam apps that run up credit card or cell phone bills (via premium SMS), you'd know it when you got your bill.

If it's malware that Google has tagged, you'd get a popup window on your device alerting you that the app install has been blocked. See https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/2812853?hl=en for screenshots. I've never seen such a window on any of my devices.

Apple fanatics are SO gullible. They believe ANYTHING you tell them. They are a bunch of mindless conformists.

Get a clue people, I am a CEH certified ethical hacker. My instructor and mentor backs that statement up. He is my main source for the iPhone being significantly less secure than the Android. And this holds true for even the most recent versions of their smartphone operating systems.

I have no reason to lie to any of you, I'm honestly just tired of hearing lies.