The Macalope Daily: Insecurity complex

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Prepare yourselves for the Macalope’s patented “Fake Confusion” bit, dear readers, because someone is intimating that things are somehow less than perfect in the open paradise of Android.

“Hacking experts find new ways to attack Android phones”

Hacking experts have demonstrated ways to attack Android smartphones using methods they said work on virtually all such devices in use today, despite recent efforts by search engine giant Google to boost protection.

Huh. Well, that can’t be right. (This is the “Fake Confusion” part, if you haven’t figured that out yet.) See, the Macalope distinctly remembers hearing how Android’s security is better than the iPhone’s. Strange. Where would the Macalope have gotten that impression? (Still “Fake Confusion.”)

Maybe it was here: “Why Android App Security Is Better Than for the iPhone”

Oh, right! That was it! That was our old pal Katherine Noyes, who has continually, bombastically, and wrong-headedly pushed the idea that Android is somehow more secure than iOS because open and la-dee-da-dee-da and unicorn-fairy-pixie-dust-millions-of-eyes secure.

Back here on planet Earth, hackers have figured out how to use near field communications to deliver malicious code to an Android-based phone just by walking near it. That’s like weaponizing the old “got it from a toilet seat” excuse.

If Android does have some kind of inherent security advantage (and the Macalope’s not saying it does), it’s far outweighed by other factors. For starters, the “walled garden” approach does actually work better than the “wild west” approach. Go figure! But it’s not just that.

Experts say iPhones and iPads don’t face the same problem because Apple has been able to get carriers to push out security updates fairly quickly after they are released.

Turns out that the hopes and dreams and butterflies of all those open source eyes scouring the code for bugs don’t really mean a thing if the users can’t get the updates. And carriers simply do not care if users get the updates. Android phones are like burners to them. Once they get you in the contract, it’s your problem. They’ll talk to you again in two years when they’ll try to sell you another phone that they won’t support with updates.

None of this is to say that iOS is completely secure. It’s had a couple of embarrassing gaffes find their way into the App Store. And, heck, part of the reaons it’s not vulnerable like this is because it doesn’t have near field communications yet. But it’s still the most secure operating system there is. No matter what pie-eyed open-source enthusiasts might tell you.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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