Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Security comparison: Android versus Apple

Date:
October 11, 2013
Source:
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR)
Summary:
A large study of smartphone applications provides a baseline for comparing the security of different mobile providers.

Smartphones are big business, prompting fierce competition between providers. One major concern for consumers is whether a smartphone will keep their private data safe from malicious programs. To date, however, little independent research has been undertaken to compare security across different platforms.

Related Articles


Now, Jin Han and co-workers at the A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research and Singapore Management University have conducted the first systematic comparison of the two biggest operating systems in mobile software1 -- Apple's iOS and Google's Android. The two companies take markedly different approaches to security.

Apple famously maintains complete control over iOS security, promising that all applications are thoroughly screened before release and security patches are smoothly applied across all their phones. However, malicious software has appeared in the iTunes store.

Android, in contrast, displays everything that an application will need to access so that users can decide themselves whether to go ahead with an installation. Some critics argue that handing such control to unqualified users could present a security risk in itself.

To compare these two security models, Han and co-workers identified 1,300 popular applications that work identically on both iOS and Android. These applications, such as Facebook, often access code libraries on smartphones called security-sensitive application programing interfaces (SS-APIs), which provide private user data or grant control over devices such as the camera.

"We needed to establish a fair baseline for the security comparison between Android and iOS," says Han. "We achieved this goal by examining the SS-API usage of cross-platform applications."

The researchers found that 73% of iOS applications, especially advertising and analytical code, consistently accessed more SS-APIs than their counterparts on Android. Additionally, the SS-APIs invoked by iOS tended to be those providing access to sensitive resources such as user contacts.

The results imply that by allowing users to control permissions, Android may be better at preventing stealthy applications from getting hold of private information. Notably, Android also intentionally avoids using SS-APIs if non-security-sensitive APIs can be used to achieve the same functions.

To avoid jumping to conclusions about the risk to Apple users from the iOS process, Han urges caution in interpreting the results. "Mobile platforms are constantly evolving," he says. "Our experiments were mainly conducted on iOS 5, but iOS 6 has enhanced its privacy protection so that users will be notified when an app is trying to access their contacts, calendar, photos or reminders. This may encourage developers to modify their apps so that they access less private data."

The A*STAR-affiliated researchers contributing to this research are from the Institute for Infocomm Research.

Article reference: Han, J., Yan, Q., Gao, D., Zhou, J. & Deng, R. Comparing mobile privacy protection through cross-platform applications. The 20th Annual Network & Distributed System Security Symposium, 26 February 2013.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Security comparison: Android versus Apple." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011092523.htm>.
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). (2013, October 11). Security comparison: Android versus Apple. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011092523.htm
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). "Security comparison: Android versus Apple." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131011092523.htm (accessed October 30, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Mind-Controlled Prosthetic Arm Restores Amputee Dexterity

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 29, 2014) A Swedish amputee who became the first person to ever receive a brain controlled prosthetic arm is able to manipulate and handle delicate objects with an unprecedented level of dexterity. The device is connected directly to his bone, nerves and muscles, giving him the ability to control it with his thoughts. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

Robots Get Funky on the Dance Floor

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) Dancing, spinning and fighting robots are showing off their agility at "Robocomp" in Krakow. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
IBM Taps Into Twitter's Data With New Partnership

IBM Taps Into Twitter's Data With New Partnership

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) The new partnership will allow IBM to access Twitter’s data and analytics to help IBM clients better understand their consumers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Google To Use Nanoparticles, Wearables To Detect Disease

Newsy (Oct. 29, 2014) Google X wants to improve modern medicine with nanoparticles and a wearable device. It's all an attempt to tackle disease detection and prevention. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins