Google claims Android is ‘as safe as the competition’ despite its fragmented, outdated install base

“Google’s head of Android security David Kleidermacher claimed in an interview that ‘Android is now as safe as the competition’ on the release of the company’s 2017 Android Security report, which seeks to reassure users that it is doing everything it can to protect them from malware and exploits,” Daniel Eran Dilger writes for AppleInsider. “The problem is that Google can’t secure the 2 billion Androids it claims as its platform.”

“Kleidermacher’s claim, made during a media tour surrounding the release of its Android Security 2017 Year in Review, sounds a lot like one made in 2014 by Google’s former chairman Eric Schmidt, who similarly boasted to the media that ‘our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple,'” Dilger writes. “That was not true at the time and remains false today. A large number of Androids don’t even support Full Disk Encryption, which has been on by default on iOS for years.”

“Google and its partners have also been doing a poor job of getting full Android updates to users,” Dilger writes. “Over the first four months since its release, iOS 11 found its way to 65 percent of iOS devices, and only seven percent of Apple’s installed base were using something earlier than iOS 10. On Android’s side, barely one percent were running Oreo, and only 28 percent were running the iOS 10-era Nougat. Nearly seventy percent of active phones in use were running a version of Android more than two years old.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google’s head of Android security’s thinking is as flawed as the iOS wannabe he’s trying to peddle.

Eric Schmidt on Android: ‘It’s more secure than the iPhone’ – October 8, 2013

New Android malware records ambient audio, fires off premium-rate texts, and harvests files, photos, contacts, and more – March 2, 2018
Android malware apps with over 1 million downloads slip past Google Play defenses – twice! – September 14, 2017
How to upgrade from Android to a real Apple iPhone – August 21, 2017
Video: Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at Cisco Live, blasts Android’s shoddy security – June 26, 2017
Security expert: There are several reasons why Apple iPhones are more secure than Android phones – May 31, 2017
Russian hacker gang robbed Russian banks with over one million hacked Android phones – May 22, 2017
36 widely-used Android devices ship with malware preinstalled – March 14, 2017
The cost of free: More than one million Google Android devices hit by malware – November 30, 2016
Secret backdoor in U.S. Android phones sent location, text, contact data to China – November 15, 2016
Google’s Android platform has a serious flaw – August 23, 2016
Poor man’s iPhone: Android on the decline – February 26, 2015
Study: iPhone users are smarter and richer than those who settle for Android phones – January 22, 2015


    1. John, people believe all kinds of things, despite the evidence of their eyes, despite the testimony of their peers, despite torture. Belief is subjective as all get out. Belief trumps facts. The Enlightenment strove to change all that and made some strides, but Rationality continues to struggle against Human Nature to this very day, and the outcome of that titanic struggle is uncertain.


    Google’s head of Android security David Kleidermacher claimed in an interview that ‘Android is now as safe as the competition’.

    He forgot to add under his breath:


    I have reams of documentation of Android security problems, OS version fragmentation and outrageously massive Android device malware infections, if anyone chooses to contest my claim.

    As I stated last week:
    -> Google, Android is your most EVIL software.
    Yes it is!
    And you know it.

    (Thank you as usual for your articles Dan!)

    1. Till I can read a lot more on the topic I’m going to assume that he’s talking about the state on devices released in the past month forward as there is abundant data for Android’s shortcomings before his statement on devices currently in use.

      1. Google has been putting out press releases that it’s been working on a core aspect of Android that CAN be updated immediately on every compatible device. If they’ve actually achieved that, it would improve the overall security of Android over time immensely. (I forgot the working name Google has been using). Let’s hope that’s the case!

        Meanwhile, I’ve seen plenty of promises and NO success from Google attempting to keep malware out of the Google Play Store. It’s still a rat hole.

    1. That’s pretty nasty. Hopefully the supply chain will adopt the new blockchain tech to securely track the ‘hands’ future devices go through and make it more difficult to hide where any malicious apps/services have been inserted. Till then “Tian Pai, a Hangzhou-based mobile phone distributor” will be high on the list of suspect supply sources.

      1. Blockchain tech is unsustainable.

        The only security is to maintain control of your own data and stay away from free software. That includes Apple freebieware through at least 3-6 months from release since the geniuses at Cupertino now have a hard time getting stuff right the first time.

        1. That’s like saying an RFID tag for tracking is unsustainable. Blockchain is used in logistics in a different way than in cryptocurrency. The reason it is being looked at seriously by the logistics community is that blockchains are very hard to spoof.

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