Android phones are now safer than ever before – safer than even iPhones

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  • Government agencies are no longer able to ‘get into a lot of the Androids’.
  • iPhones, up to the iPhone X, can be hacked to extract private data of users.
  • On the contrary, hacking attempts on Android phones like the Huawei P20 Pro have completely failed.
Android phones haven’t always been known to offer better security and encryption when compared to iPhones, but that is slowly changing. A new report has shed light on how several Android phones are now safer than ever before – some are safer than even iPhones.

A new report from Vice has shed light on how it is easy for governments to get access to your private data on your smartphones. While companies like Apple have refused to cooperate with the US government to give access to a ‘backdoor’, the report reveals how the US government has been able to access data without help from smartphone makers.

Android security has improved over the last one year

According to detective Rex Kiser who works for the Fort Worth Police Department in Texas, Android security has improved over the last one year. He says, “A year ago we couldn’t get into iPhones, but we could get into all the Androids. Now we can’t get into a lot of the Androids.”

Government agencies use a tool developed by Cellebrite to crack into smartphones to get access to data stored on them. This includes location data, messages, call logs, contacts and data from apps like Instagram, Twitter etc.

Using Cellebrite, authorities can hack into any iPhone, including and up to the iPhone X.

However, extracting data becomes a lot more difficult when it comes to some Android devices. For instance, Cellebrite cannot extract location data, social media data or internet browsing history from smartphones like the Google Pixel 2 and the Samsung Galaxy S9.

Cellebrite also fails completely when it comes to the Huawei P20 Pro.

Are all Android phones safe?

The answer is no. Even though Android security and encryption have improved a lot over the last few years, Android phones are still not perfect. Companies like Google and Samsung have been working on improving encryption using solutions like the Titan M chipset or Knox software.

However, that doesn’t make your phone uncrackable. Vice’s sources suggest that even the iPhone 11 Pro Max can be cracked, even though Cellebrite doesn’t work with it yet.

One reason that iPhones are not as safe as Android phones is because there are only a handful of iPhones that companies like Cellebrite need to attack. On the contrary, there are hundreds of new Android phones launched every year, making Android unviable for industry-level hacking that affects iPhones.

See also:

Apple disputes Google security researcher findings on iPhone attack

Apple has reignited a privacy battle with the Trump administration by declining to unlock a mass shooter's iPhone
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