Mobile security is one heck of a complicated question. It’s easy to just count the instances of malware and leave things at that, but malicious apps make up just one corner of the mobile security picture. We also need to consider things like what the platform’s doing to manage permissions and sandbox apps, how data is managed on the device, and ensuring communications to and from key apps are conducted don’t become fodder for eavesdroppers. Everyone’s got their own opinion about who’s doing things the best, and yesterday Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt attempted to emphasize Android’s security chops, at the expense of Apple.
At the Q&A session, part of the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Florida, Schmidt responded to about concerns that Android wasn’t secure by asserting that his company’s platform is more secure than iOS. Reportedly, the proclamation was met with laughter from the audience.
Unfortunately, Schmidt failed to back up that claim with any concrete examples, and instead talked in broad terms about Android being thoroughly tested. While there may be a case for Android being more secure in specific areas, and open source is fundamentally easier to trust than closed source software, Schmidt didn’t make any real effort to defend his position.
That statement about security wasn’t Schmidt’s only gaff during the session, and he also tried to dismiss Android fragmentation as a problem. The way he sees it, fragmentation is a non-issue so long as phones running older Android builds still have access to the Play Store. There’s definitely an argument that fragmentation matters less today than it did in the past, but we’re not sure we quite buy the specific reasoning here.