Posted by: David Harley | March 11, 2013

iOS riskier than Android? Not exactly.

Appthority’s App Report for February 2013 claims that iOS free apps are more likely to indulge in risky behaviour than Android (free) apps. Appthority’s contention is that while Android is more vulnerable to malware than IOS, malware only affects 1% of apps.

One per cent sounds pretty high to me – especially if you compare it to the virtually invisible percentage of iOS malicious apps – but I agree that we shouldn’t ignore behaviours such as those Appthority highlights:

  • Unencrypted user data transmission
  • ad network and analytics relay (many free apps make money this way instead of charging the consumer)
  • location tracking
  • access to contact lists and calendars.

Nonetheless, this is something of an apples and oranges comparison in that it ignores a security problem that constitutes a major distinction between the two platforms.

AppleIinsider (which drew my attention to this report) puts these findings into the context of whether Android is ‘inherently less secure’ than iOS. If you take into account the risk from malware, the answer is unequivocal. If you choose to ignore malware, maybe you need to consider more than 100 free apps to make a fair comparison.

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