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Google security head says Pixel is as secure as the iPhone

Google’s director of security at Android, Adrian Ludwig, says that the Google Pixel and Apple iPhone are almost identical in terms of security levels.

Published onNovember 2, 2016

nexus 6p vs iphone 6s plus aa (16 of 26)

Google’s director of security at Android, Adrian Ludwig, has said that the Google Pixel and Apple iPhone are “nearly identical in terms of their platform-level capabilities” when it comes to security. Speaking to Motherboard at a conference on Tuesday, Ludwig also noted that Android’s open ecosystem would ensure that it was even more secure than Apple iOS in the future.

Historically, the iPhone has been perceived to be the more secure platform, largely thanks to the difference in how security patches are rolled out across iOS compared to Android. Ludwig said that the number of Android phones that have potentially harmful applications installed is less than one percent, but acknowledged that the fragmentation between Android systems and delays between the disparate security patches remain a concern.

Google releases October's Android security update for Nexus devices

“We got [sic] quite a bit of work left to do to get to a point where that actually happens on a regular basis across the whole the ecosystem,” he said, of how manufacturers and carriers implement security updates.

Why Ludwig believes Android’s open ecosystem could result in superior security “in the long term” wasn’t laid out, but it may stem from the belief that open source software allows for wider and more varying approaches to identifying security flaws (i.e. having hundreds of manufacturers scrutinizing the code as oppose to a more singular ‘closed’ approach).

Ludwig also mentioned that a targeted attack on multiple people at the same time was almost impossible on Android, and not something that he is expecting to see “at any point in the Android ecosystem.”

What are your thoughts on Android’s level of security compared to iOS? Let us know in the comments.