Black Hat 2016: Apple’s iPhone destroys Android phones in security

“Apple iPhones are drubbing their Android counterparts on the mobile security front, say Atredis Partners founders Shawn Moyer and Josh Thomas,” Allison Gatlin reports for Investor’s Business Daily. “‘Not that many (Android users) are on the newest release of the OS (operating system),’ Thomas said. ‘It’s like Windows 95 out in the wild… People are saying Apple is winning security. This is one reason why.'”

“The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant is better at pushing updates, Thomas and Moyer told a several-hundred-thick crowd Wednesday at the Black Hat cybersecurity conference in Las Vegas. Apple’s users, too, are better trained to accept those updates,” Gatlin reports. “Android’s security posture depends on ‘obsolescence,’ Thomas said… Users of Android, a much-used open-source operating system developed by Alphabet unit Google, are left more vulnerable.”

Gatlin reports, “That’s because the Android market is vastly more fragmented than Apple’s.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Now to be fair, this is only because Android is an inferior product peddled to cheapskate tech illiterates who do not value their privacy and/or who are unable to recognize a half-assed knockoff from the revolutionary original.

Android is a BlackBerry clone that was hastily rejiggered at the last minute to mimic iPhone in a panic by Google. Obviously, mistakes were made and corners were cut.

So, the Android rush-job is a privacy and security nightmare. It’s a fragmented morass. It’s too many cooks in the kitchen. It’s crap-by-committee lowest-common-denominator junk.

If it’s not an iPhone, it’s not an iPhone.

And anyone who rewards blatant thieves by settling for Android garbage deserves their fate.

Bad news for Fragmandroid: FCC and FTC launch inquiry over mobile security updates – May 10, 2016
Google’s flawed Android is essentially unfixable – May 2, 2016
Apple’s deep commitment to security – April 18, 2016
Apple: We have the ‘most effective security organization in the world’ – April 16, 2016
85% of mobile device failures occur on Android, with Samsung leading the way – February 23, 2016
More than 90% of Android devices are running out-dated, insecure operating system versions – January 27, 2016
Dangerous new zero-day flaw affects more than two-thirds of all Android devices – January 20, 2016
Android malware steals one-time passcodes, a crucial defense for online banking – January 14, 2016
New Android malware is so bad, you’d better off buying a new phone – November 6, 2015
Apple issues iPhone manifesto; blasts Android’s lack of updates, lack of privacy, rampant malware – August 10, 2015
New Android malware strains to top 2 million by end of 2015 – July 1, 2015
Symantec: 1 in 5 Android apps is malware – April 25, 2015
Kaspersky Lab Director: Over 98% of mobile malware targets Android because it’s much, much easier to exploit than iOS – January 15, 2015
Security experts: Malware spreading to millions on Android phones – November 21, 2014
There’s practically no iOS malware, thanks to Apple’s smart control over app distribution – June 13, 2014
F-Secure: Android accounted for 99% of new mobile malware in Q1 2014 – April 30, 2014
Google’s Sundar Pichai: Android not designed to be safe; if I wrote malware, I’d target Android, too – February 27, 2014
Cisco: Android the target of 99 percent of world’s mobile malware – January 17, 2014
U.S. DHS, FBI warn of malware threats to Android mobile devices – August 27, 2013


    1. We’ve had plenty of people attempt to defend Android security here at MDN. But the hammer keeps pounding out the drum beat of newly discovered Android security flaws, every single month. I haven’t run into an Android security apologist in many months, apart from Google themselves. Poor, pathetic Google.

      Meanwhile, keep in mind that Apple consistently confronts their own software security holes as well. Read up on the most recent macOS and iOS security updates. Sheesh! It’s just that Apple has working protections in place that prevent their security holes from making much, if any, dent in user security.

      And further meanwhile: Every OS is going to leave its users at least somewhat susceptible to Trojan horse malware, Phishing and other scams. It’s the wetware error. It’s the LUSER Factor. It’s the fact that we-the-users end up being The Weakest Link. Only education and modern user protection strategies can solve that problem.

  1. That’s funny, MDN. I agree Android is inferior, but to say it’s peddled to tech illiterates is an awful defense, since Apple was built on being “for the rest of us” not the tech savvy.

    1. There argument makes sense because android is foisted on people as “just as good” or the “same” as an iPhone to people who don’t know the difference, just like Windows was… That’s what they mean by tech illiterate. Apples products are marketed as “just working” which appeals to non geeks and geeks alike who don’t want to deal with security problems and countless hours debugging their systems.

      It’s the people who see the physical appearance of a device and figure since it looks the same, it’ll be the same, and then unscrupulous mobile phone sales people who are paid incentives to push android phones, similar to the bounties pc box assemblers used to pay to sales people in the 90’s to push Windows boxes. That’s what MDN means by tech illiterate.

      1. Also, most of the phone sales people are tech illiterate as well. Even if they were not being swayed by their commission structure, I don’t think that most are qualified to evaluate technology. The blind leading the blind.

        1. People of older generation still continue to blindly trust the sales people. Even Walt Mossberg himself actually implied that the other day in his article about his purchase of a new LG TV, where he was disappointed about “not getting much help from the Best Buy sales people”. My father-in-law usually respects my advice on the matters tech, but when we walk into a Best Buy, he considers those salesmen the ultimate experts who know everything about every device they sell.

          This is very sad, considering that these kids are getting barely a bit over the minimum wage, and are usually dangerously clueless about the gear they sell. Too many people still rely on the old Expert Salesman concept.

          1. I don’t disagree with what you said. But (sometimes), you used to be able to get some good advice. I had some Circuit City employees who really knew their stuff, and Mac specialty stores (before the Apple Stores), were generally a good place for info.

            That being said, I don’t want Best Buy employees coming anywhere near me. I’ll do my research myself, thanks.

      2. > Apples products are marketed as “just working”

        Sadly I find this to be the case less and less these days. I couldn’t get Airdrop working between girlfriend’s phone and my Mac(s!), and we couldn’t get Airdrop working between her phone and another friend’s a day later.

        I can’t speak to her friend’s iPhone, but sure as hell both her phone had the latest iOS and my Macs were Yosemite and El Capitan, and all had “discoverable by everyone” on.

        She could my iPhone fine, but even that didn’t work when we first tried a month earlier, until she added my Apple ID email to her contact info for me. Again, that was even with “discoverable by everyone” on.

        This is on top of other issues that she’s run into since switching to my old iPhone 5. She likes it well enough she’ll not switch back to Android, but it’s sure opened my eyes to exactly how Apple gear *don’t* “just work” these days.

        1. It would be helpful if you would post updates to this situation… Did you eventually find a way to make it work? If so, what was the problem?

          Sometimes these functions do not work well because Apple has not engineered them well enough, sometimes it is a poor interface or human error, and sometimes a mixture of issues that defies understanding.

          1. Never did figure out the iPhone-to-Mac Airdrop failure.

            Was super-frustrating because I was trying to Airdrop some photos from her phone to my Mac so she could work on them in the morning. It was the last thing I was doing before going to bed and it shouldn’t have taken more than 5 seconds.

            I instead wasted 15 minutes trying on both Macs (thought maybe it was a Yosemite thing), restarting both Macs and her iPhone, before giving up. She ended up having to email them to herself and downloading it on the Mac.

            Looking back, I could’ve Airdropped to my iPhone and then from there to my Mac, but that’s still merely a workaround for a problem that shouldn’t exist if “it just works”.

            I do software development myself and certainly understand that not everything works all the time, sometimes things fail for reasons that defy easy understanding, etc… but when it fails between Apple gear with the latest updates, etc, it’s still mind-boggling when that happens. And since I advocate Apple gear, it’s like a personal betrayal when it fails me.

            I expect failure from cheap-ass Windows and Android, not from premium Apple gear.

            1. Airdrop should work (it works beautifully between my iPhone 6 Plus and my wife’s old iPhone 5) assuming the phones are updated but even if it doesn’t you have other options, like e-mailing the pics. Not exactly a disastrous scenario with other options easily available.

    2. I think Android is like the old PC days with tech illiterates. People buying their first computers would ask tech “wizards”. These were usually people who were IT people. Those people hated Apple. They did have some good reason; like it or not Windows was better for mass deployment. The same for the gamer crowd. Unfortunately the Mac would have been a choice for most people. It could have opened worlds they didn’t know. There was also the PC snobs who believed if you did not know how to keep a computer safe than you should not have one. They would laugh at people behind their back that would have computer problems because it made them feel superior.

      You get some of that same BS with Android fans. People who love to dive deep into personalizing playing around with their phones will never be Apple fans. However they are the few. Some even feel good when others have problems they could solve and not helping them. When the iPhone first came out IT people were waiting for Blackberry, Nokia, and Microsoft to catch up. Tech press kept promising that would happen next year or the year after. By now Apple was supposed to be about 10% of the market. Now IT people will have to sallow their pride and work with IBM and Apple; or cripple and bandaid Android phones.

      1. One other group is the Never Apple one.
        They were usually raised in the the Microsoft / IBM universe and could never escape.

        If it’s not Apple, it must be great!

    3. ‘scott’, I don’t believe you understand who the ‘us’ is supposed to be. ‘Us’ certainly includes the tech savvy. It always has. I’ve always considered ‘us’ to be those who don’t want to deal with cruddy IBM derived hardware problems OR Microsoft Windows. Being tech savvy certainly has NO connection to using a Windows box, does it!

      Another point: macOS (OS X) is certified UNIX, BSD UNIX to be specific. It’s not imitative UNIX, as is the case with both Linux and the DOS-based underpinnings of Windows. IOW: Mac OS X (…) has the benefit of being usable by both the non-tech savvy as well as the most tech savvy. It’s the casual as well as most highly professional OS. That’s definitely unique in the computer community. That’s ‘the rest of us’ of the modern day.

      1. I should add: Regarding Android being “peddled to tech illiterates”, that’s only mostly the case. I’m playing with Android this week as a learning experience. A lot of Android users are aware of the dangers and do their best to work around them. But seeing as Android is the predominant OS for cheap ‘smart’ phones, it is indeed being used by masses of tech illiterate users who don’t know much, if anything, about it being the single most dangerous OS currently available. They just want a cheap approximation of an iPhone, and that’s what they get. The concept of FragmAndroid isn’t in their knowledge or vocabulary.

    August’s First Android Security Horror.

    ‘Quadrooter’ flaws affect over 900 million Android phones
    All versions of Android are vulnerable to these flaws, which won’t be fully patched until the September security release next month.

    Four previously undisclosed security vulnerabilities found in Android phones and tablets that ship with Qualcomm chips could let a hacker take full control of an affected device.

    Almost a billion Android devices are affected by the “high” risk privilege escalation vulnerabilities, dubbed “Quadrooter,” say researchers at security firm Check Point.


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