10 Reasons Why Google Android Is Secure

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2009-11-02 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: Google's Android platform is a relatively secure operating system. It has a number of features that make it a fine alternative to the iPhone. But it's important for users to understand just how Google built security into the mobile operating system.

The debate over which mobile platform-iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile or BlackBerry-is best might rage for hours. Everything is subjective. But it's security that may matter most when considering a mobile phone.

Will the phone provide the kind of security required when important data is transmitted from the desktop to the mobile device? That's a question that can't be so easily answered with a yes or no.

That's why it's so important to consider each mobile platform's security on a case-by-case basis. The iPhone has received the most accolades. But Google's Android platform is circling in the background. Slowly but surely, Google's software is gaining steam. It's becoming a much bigger player in the mobile market. And all the while, it has maintained a relatively high level of security.

Let's take a look at why it's so secure.

1. Open source

Open-source software tends to be more secure than closed software. That's mainly due to the nature of open source: The community works together to improve software. It's a great concept. And unlike Microsoft and Apple, it's a concept that Google and its partners have embraced. Open source is a key to security victory.

2. Multiprocess software

Rather than running each application in one process, Google's Android platform is multiprocess software, so that each application runs within its own process. Thanks to that, Google can ensure that no application gains access to critical components of system software.

3. Say hello to Linux

Linux is an extremely secure operating system. And it just so happens that Google's Android platform is based on Linux. The operating system has several features such as user and group IDs that help keep application data away from core software processes. Linux is a major reason why Google's Android platform has enjoyed relative security to this point.

4. Access restrictions

Access restrictions are central to the security of any operating system. In Android, no application has permission to perform operations that could harm the operating system. The same architecture keeps those applications from running harmful scripts that affect other applications or the user. Thanks to that feature, users know that their sensitive data won't be touched by unauthorized applications.

5. Sign this, please

If trouble breaks out, knowing who wrote a particular application not only helps users identify the culprit, but also ensures that in the future that source won't be trusted. All Android applications require a signature unique to the application's developer. The result is twofold: it assigns a level of culpability to poorly designed software and it helps determine access to signature-based permissions. That combines to make attackers think twice about specifically targeting Android. 



 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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