A Google Pixel smartphone and an iPhone are “pretty much equal when it comes to security”, according to Adrian Ludwig, the director of security at Android, speaking with Vice. While he was cautions in his choice of words, there are a couple things he obviously failed to add. And, of course, let’s not forget that the message comes from the person responsible for the security of more than one billion Android users, so he obviously wants to send the right message.
“For almost all threat models,” Adrian Ludwig, the director of security at Android, referring to the level of security needed by most people, “they are nearly identical in terms of their platform-level capabilities.”
Ludwig goes beyond claiming that the Pixel is equal to the iPhone in terms of security: he says Pixel will soon be better.
“In the long term, the open ecosystem of Android is going to put it in a much better place,” he said, without mentioning that Android has already been around for more than eight years at this point.
Android’s built-in security product, “Safety Net”, scans 400 million devices per day and checks 6 billion apps per day. This, coupled with Android’s exploit mitigation measures, results in only a small number of Android smartphones being infected with malware. His chart shown at the O’Reilly Security Conference showed less than 1% Android handsets containing malware.
There is one major issue, though, which Google has apparently managed to somewhat address in the last couple of years: the update cycle carriers impose on Android users. Ludwig somehow forgot to mention that because, as Google’s 2015 Annual Android Security Report revealed, nearly one in three devices never get the latest security patches.
He seems to be confident, however, that Android is already secure enough to make it almost impossible for attackers to target a large number of people at the same time.