Staying safe in a digital world can be difficult. It can be difficult to understand how to avoid phishing scams, or whether WhatsApp is a safer choice than Signal or Telegram. And it turns out that your choice of phone can affect how secure you are, as Android and Apple handsets are both prone to hacking, if not to varying degrees.

That’s why we took to the stratosphere to find out what leading security experts think and what to watch out for so you can keep your phone safe.

Are iPhones more secure than Android phones?

Chris Hauk, consumer privacy champion at Pixel Privacy, told Trusted Reviews that Android phones are more likely to be targeted than iPhones because there are more of them in the wild, making them a bigger target.

“Android handsets tend to be more targeted than iPhones, due to their larger install numbers, so targeting Android devices provides a larger attack surface,” Hauk says.

“iPhones are also not as vulnerable to attacks as Android devices, as Apple controls both the devices and the operating system. Meanwhile, Android is being adapted by numerous smartphone makers, who usually adapt the mobile operating system to the devices they sell, and introduce potential security flaws by installing their third-party software.

That doesn’t mean iPhones are immune to attacks or vulnerabilities. Recently, Apple just patched two major vulnerabilities that allowed third-party apps to see your private Apple ID. In a similar vein, a Safari 15 bug was discovered that could reveal your recent browsing history of the app, showing that Apple isn’t invincible, even if it’s less common to see it struggling with major security vulnerabilities.

Security advisor at F-Secure, Fennel Aurora, explained to Trusted Reviews how Android is more targeted, although iPhone malware is more valuable as it takes more complicated tricks to get into the iOS system.

“In general, iOS and Mac users are more valuable targets and can be more profitable if the crime company can put in the effort to develop more complex malware,” notes Aurora.

“These targets are generally profitable, either because the generally wealthier users pay for ransomware, or by working for governments and companies with deep pockets that behave criminally to protesters, journalists, opposition leaders, union organizers, whistleblowers and anyone else who is a nuisance. is for their continuation, to attack. abuse of power.”

Aurora goes on to say that the greater weakness of phones is that since the software is so homogeneous, one good attack can hack the entire system.

“While Android is gradually catching up with iOS in terms of security by design, the fragmentation of the Android ecosystem compared to a very homogeneous ecosystem for iOS may in some ways make it easier and more valuable to attack iOS – giving a good attack you can access any device, rather than having to develop for each specific flavor of Android,” explains Aurora.

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What kinds of threats are more likely to affect mainstream consumers?

Kaspersky’s chief security researcher David Emm explained to Trusted Reviews that the goal of many malware is to steal people’s personal information.

“Most malware, for any platform, relies on social engineering, ie tricking someone into doing something that compromises their security,” noted Emm.

Hence the number of phishing attacks designed to try and trick people into clicking links to fake sites that host malware (this could be adware, a banking trojan designed to steal their money, malicious cryptocurrency miners or a other type of malware) or recording personal information such as passwords.”

It is important that you keep your passwords safe. Small preventative measures, such as using a password manager or installing a VPN, make it harder for hackers to get into your accounts. Also make sure you never click on a link emailed to you by an unknown contact and if you are not sure what to do then ask for advice.

Hank Schless, senior manager of security solutions at Lookout, also told Trusted Reviews that phishing and malicious malware are the biggest concerns for consumers, with Android being more vulnerable.

“Mobile phishing and malicious apps are two huge threats to everyday consumers. Mobile phishing attacks can take place on any messaging-enabled platform, meaning we are very vulnerable on these devices if they are not protected with a mobile security solution,” said Schless.

“The risk of malicious apps is usually higher on Android because it is a more open operating system. It’s incredibly difficult to download an app that isn’t from the Apple App Store onto an iOS device, which is one of the benefits of the company’s walled garden approach.

Malicious mobile apps usually appear harmless, but run malicious code in the background that can spy on the person and everything they do on their device, Schless continued.

Is one safer than the other?

Paul Bischoff, a privacy attorney at Comparitech, told Trusted Reviews that iPhones are inherently more secure because it makes it more difficult to download dangerous apps, since any service that wants to sell on Apple’s platform must be audited by the App Store.

“iPhones are more secure by default. Disk encryption is enabled by default, apps from the App Store are subject to a stricter review process, and Apple does not collect users’ personal information for advertising purposes,” said Bischoff.

Since it is very difficult to download apps on Apple that are not in the App Store, you are less likely to download a malicious app. Apple’s control over its hardware and software makes it harder for hackers to get in, similar to how a burglar would struggle when confronted by a locked door with a deadbolt. Android still has a locked door, but the lack of a deadbolt makes it easier for some attacks to slip through.

Schless went on to say that iPhones have better control over system updates, rolling out one iOS update for each user at a time, while Android security patches are more spread out as each handset must be tested.

“The basic difference between iOS and Android is that only one device manufacturer has devices that run iOS, while there are dozens that build Android devices,” explains Schless.

“On iOS, security patches can be pushed to every iPhone user at once. On the other hand, any device manufacturer that produces an Android device must test updates before pushing it to mobile users.”

Schless said this is dangerous because traditionally users don’t even take basic measures to protect themselves on mobile.

“This can cause a significant delay between when security vulnerabilities are discovered and when users actually receive the updates to protect themselves against them. Regardless of the operating system, everyone should protect their mobile devices with a security solution,” Schless told Trusted Reviews .

“We have been conditioned to use antivirus software on our PCs and laptops, so why should it be any different on mobile devices? No doubt smartphones and tablets now have more access to sensitive data than computers, so from a personal and business security standpoint, any mobile user must secure these devices.”

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What advice would you give both users to stay safe?

Hauk suggests that you don’t click on rouge links from contacts you don’t recognize.

“Never click on links in emails or text messages, and do not load apps from outside the App Store on iPhone or the Google Play Store on Android. Sideloading can introduce viruses and malware to your device. Use a VPN when connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots, as they are a favorite target for the world’s bad guys,” concludes Hauk.

Emm also suggests that users should make sure their devices are up to date, linking back to Hauk by stating that you shouldn’t download apps that aren’t from the dedicated Apple or Google store.

“Apply updates to operating systems and applications and back up your data regularly. Think PUB – protect, update, backup. Only use trusted sites, use ‘https’ and always type in the address yourself or use bookmarks/favorites instead of clicking links. For mobile devices, secure your device with a unique, complex password or biometric, only download apps from Google Play or the App Store, and check the permissions an app asks for when you install it.” Emm continues.

It is also important that you understand how most scams work because the more familiar you are with the scams, the less likely you are to fall for them, powered by Aurora.

“Try to understand how some basic scams work. As with malware, scammers usually recycle the same tricks in slightly different wrapping paper. Much of avoiding scams comes down to breathing and pausing when you feel yourself being pressured or suddenly aroused by an opportunity that’s too good to be true. This applies to websites you visit, emails you receive, text messages, social media, phone calls, and even when you’re outside. Scammers find you where you are and try to use things that seem familiar to gain your trust,” Aurora noted.

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