Apple vs. Android: How Do They Hold Up to Cyber Attacks?

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There’s no shortage of Apple and Android devices in the world. In the United States alone, there are estimated to be more than 133 million iPhone users. There’s a similar number of Android users in the US, although this operating system is by far more popular globally. In fact, around 2.5 billion people are using Android devices regularly. Although the preferred mobile platform for many, it would be a mistake to automatically assume that Android is the more secure operating system. Thinking about cyber attacks and online security before you choose your next device? Read on for everything you need to know.  

Cyber Attacks Explained

Cyber attacks involve malicious third parties accessing single devices or entire networks. These attacks can disable hardware and access confidential information. Furthermore, a breached device can serve as a launching pad for a more widespread attack.

Apple and Android users face many of the same cyber threats as laptop and desktop owners. Malware attacks involve everything from classic computer viruses to sophistic\ted spyware. Some scammers will also employ phishing tactics and social engineering strategies carried out over social media platforms.

Think carefully about installing a new app on your mobile device. Just about every app on the planet will collect personal information. If this information is exposed in a brute force attack, you can fall foul of identity theft. For mobile device users, digital fraud is a big concern. In fact, around 60% of digital fraud cases involve mobile devices.

Can All Software Be Hacked?

Sadly, there’s no such thing as hack-proof software. While software and systems are becoming more sophisticated and robust, networked hackers can quickly identify weak points. Once discovered, these vulnerabilities can be quickly exploited.

The modern hacker has a huge raft of tools at their disposal. Many hackers use automated tools to cast the net wide when seeking out targets. Packets of data are sent out across multiple networks to identify exposed ports that can be exploited. If your system is vulnerable, being connected to the internet is enough to expose yourself to hackers.

Once a hacker has access to your system, you’re unlikely to notice their activity until it’s too late. During this time, they can access private files like personal photo galleries and financial records. They can also access stored passwords and login credentials to banking platforms. As well as making copies of this sensitive information, hackers can download more viruses to your device to compromise your system further.

How Can Smartphones Be Protected Against Cyber Attacks?

Protecting an Apple or Android device from hackers requires a slightly different approach than if you were safeguarding a computer against security threats. However, many of the same practices can be applied here.

Both Apple and Android devices offer a good level of integrated security. However, as hackers become more sophisticated, you’ll want a robust antivirus solution that can protect against evolving threats. To bolster your defences, it’s worth using both a VPN and free antivirus program. A good VPN will keep your IP address concealed, as well as encrypt device traffic as standard. Free software can be just as effective as a paid solution, provided you’re using the right features. For maximum protection, make sure you’re also following the security steps outlined below.

Updates and Apps

If you want to make your device as hack-proof as possible, a little digital housekeeping is advised. Do you have a habit of ignoring those operating system update prompts? Don’t put off downloading the latest version any longer. The more up-to-date your OS is, the more protected your device will be.

It’s also a good idea to remove any apps you haven’t used for a while. These old apps may seem harmless enough, but they could be compromised when it comes to security. Even if you’re not actively using them, these security vulnerabilities are still there and a hacker will have no qualms about exploiting them.

If you’re constantly adding new apps to your device, think twice before clicking the download button. Trusted sources are the only way to go if you want to minimise your cyber attack risk. Own an iPhone or iPad? Stick to the Apple App Store. Use an Android handset exclusively? Try and stick to the Google Play Store when seeking out new apps to add to your device.

Passcodes and Device Security

Most smartphones now offer facial and fingerprint recognition as a passcode option. However, these biometric security options aren’t always the safest solution. Recently, hackers have found novel ways of bypassing biometric logins, so it’s ultimately best to stick with a 6-digit PIN or password.

As a rule, the longer the password, the better protected your device will be. A custom alphanumeric code containing a mixture of numbers, letters and special characters is the way to go. Even the best password can become compromised after a while. Aim to change your device password at least once every 6 months. When answering security questions, avoid adding answers that give away personal details. If you become the victim of a cyber attack or data leak, this information can be used to further exploit you.

Apple vs. Android Devices: Which is the Safer Option?

Android device owners are affected more by cyber attacks than Apple users. However, this is largely down to market share. With far more Android users in the world, hackers have a bigger pool of victims to prey on.

That being said, Android devices do have some inherent weaknesses that make them more susceptible to cyber attacks. Hardware and operating system integration is a big issue for Android owners. Ultimately, your level of security will hinge on the device you’re using. If you’re limited to an older handset, you won’t be able to leverage premium security features.

By contrast, Apple has full control over operating system versions and devices. As such, operating systems are precisely tailored to the devices they’ll be used on. Although security weaknesses aren’t unheard of, a single patch update is usually all that’s needed to resolve the issue. If you’re concerned about cyber attacks, an Apple device provides peace of mind. However, Android devices shouldn’t be ruled out entirely. If you’re a fan of this operating system, make sure you’re using an up-to-date handset and have bolstered your security credentials with VPN and antivirus software. 

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