iPhone and Android Security

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iPhone and Android Security

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iPhone and Android Security

James Shore

COP 5611


iPhone and Android Security

Many security features are common to both systems

Screen locking, access


Network security and encryption (WEP, WAP, etc)

There are also fundamental decision affecting the security of the systems

Open vs. Closed Source

Freely distributable applications

Neither system is without its weaknesses

Both systems suffered from SMS based vulnerabilities

Both systems suffered from web browser based vulnerabilities


Fundamental Differences

Open Source (Android) vs. Closed Source (iPhone)

The open source nature of Android makes it easier for would be attackers to find faulty code

It also makes it easier for the community to contribute fixes

Closed source means fewer eyes on the code, for better or worse

Available Applications

Android can install applications found outside the app store

Pro: Increased freedom for the user

Con: Increased freedom for the user

Acceptance into the Android app store is less rigorous

Pro: Easier for developers to make applications available

Con: May allow lower quality applications


Fundamental Differences

Available Applications

Acceptance into the iPhone app store is a long and scrutinizing process

Pro: Ideally only high-quality, safe applications would be allowed

Con: Many legitimate apps may be rejected; Increased difficulty for developers to make their apps available; limits the choice of what users can run on their own devices


Fundamental Differences

Application Signing

The iPhone uses signing as a way of controlling which applications can run on the device

Android uses signing mainly for developer identification and relationships between


Application Signing

Android signing requires no certifying authority; many applications are “self-signed”

Pro: Gives developers freedom and control over their own applications

Con: No outside authority to verify the validity of an application

iPhone developers must request certification; iPhone signing is used to verify



Flaws in the Core multimedia application framework of Android allowed remote control of the browser, allowing access to saved credentials and history, February



the Phone in your Phone,” July 2009

Paper described methods to crash the window management application on the iPhone as well as kick both iPhone and Android devices from their networks

Android phones were kicked permanently from the network if the SIM card had a PIN set

iPhone could be taken over by malicious SMS messages

iPhone could be taken over by visiting malicious website which crashed the browser, August 2007



Both systems have their strengths and weaknesses

The iPhone has a much larger user base

 more likely to be exploited












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