Google’s Android OS is more vulnerable to viruses and malware infections than Apple’s iOS. Because of its openness, Android is more easily accessible to criminals, and its closed nature makes iOS less vulnerable.

Introduction

In recent years, the usage of smartphones has increased immensely. The primary two smartphones of the present era are Android and iPhone. Mobile application security is an essential domain for the protection of data and privacy of smartphone users. Android phone system is based on Android OS developed by Google, while the iPhone is based on the operating system called iOS developed by Apple. There are many features that are common to both these systems like both Operating systems tend to be secure, provide basic sharing and smoothness of operations along with data security against viruses.

In case of Android, it is built on the Linux Kernel and is a stable platform and provides a separate virtual environment for all the apps that run on Android.  On the other hand, iOS is based on Objective-C and is relatively newer than Android, yet there are immense security features against viruses similar to Android.

However, Android is built for openness, and that is a significant disadvantage of Android OS. Its added complexity leads to more utilization of processing power and memory. Hence there are performance issues with Android systems. On the other hand, iOS is quieted in control of processing power and memory utilization; however, iOS is a closed OS, hence more vulnerable to security breaches and viruses.

Photo by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash
App Penetration Testing for iOS:

Applications in the iOS platform are rigorously tested for security vulnerabilities. The apps are tested before they can be distributed to the general public on a Mac. Jailbreaking is very frequent in the iOS environment since apps need to be tested and verified before they can be distributed. 

After jailbreaking, it is necessary to download the tools required to test app security testing, particularly from Cydia — iOS 11.2.6; after this, security tools are installed on the macOS. Once the tools are ready, the device can be penetrated with pen testing techniques.

Discovered Vulnerabilities

In iOS, there have been various vulnerabilities detected in the past. For example, the libtiff vulnerability allows hackers to take over the iPhone through the buffer overflow flaw. SMS fuzzing allows hackers to take over the phone using malicious messages on the smartphone, and Jailbreak me was a security bug that provided hackers access to full resources of the device with a single pdf being viewed by the user.

App Penetration Testing for Android OS:

For pen testing in Android, less sophisticated systems are required. For this, first, there have to be a few tools to Root the device to be pen tested like port scanner and network exploitation tool.

Vulnerabilities in Android:

There are many known vulnerabilities in the Android system. One known issue is the Initiation of a VoIP Call in the VK app. This allows eavesdroppers to eavesdrop on the conversation of the user. Vulnerability in Android is lack of Binary Protection. With this vulnerability, rooting of devices can’t be detected so easily. Hence, any form of malicious code can run on the device and exploit it. However, there are fewer chances of buffer overflow; Android devices have their own type of problems. In a user-centric environment, if any app is reported to be malicious, android authorities are able to remove that app from Android systems.

Comparison of safety measures

Both Android and iOS have their own set of safety measures that are vulnerable to threats in their own ways. On iOS, applications are run as the same user, and in order to limit the interactivity between applications and the mitigation of viruses, iOS utilizes a kernel-level mechanism known as “Seatbelt”, in theory, Seatbelt policies must be customized for each app that is downloaded on the iOS system while in practice, all apps downloaded over the system run on the same level of permissions.

In comparison, Android phones have always allowed users to install or download apps or codes from un-trusted sources. This also allows viruses into the system. This means that Android’s security mechanism is far more collapsed than iOS. Android devices, however, limit permissions of applications and make sure the users have given proper rights of accessing the device’s resources like camera and Gallery, etc.

Conclusion

Both Google and Apple have worked very hard and consistently to meet the security requirements needed to form modern smartphone platforms. However, reports on security suggest that Android has had a higher risk of security threats, and more Android devices have been affected by viruses than iOS devices. Android is more vulnerable to attacks than iOS. It is because the development model of Android is more open, and apps are accessible to download by multiple stores. However, iOS restricts downloading and installing apps from a single App Store that minimizes the chances of malicious codes entering into the iOS system. With a standard feature like iOS drive encryption, iOS is more secure. However, this feature is present in Android too, but many users don’t know it can be enabled since it is not enabled by default. Hence, it makes the platform more vulnerable to attacks and viruses.

App-Ray always can help you identify and remediate threats and vulnerabilities in applications your company builds or downloads from third parties. Want to learn more? Get a fast static scan of your app for free.