UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Google enhances data protection on Android-smartphones so that in some cases, it can not get around and law enforcement. Some Android devices may be more secure than iPhones.
Apple releases the safest phones in the world. At least so considered. However, if you believe the search warrants and sources in the field of mobile forensics, smartphones with the operating system from Google, too, are not far behind, and sometimes even ahead of the iPhone in information security.
According to one such order, which was placed at the disposal of the Forbes editorial office, from the detainee Angel Angulo, who was suspected of drug trafficking and sold methamphetamine to the policeman, the police seized a LG smartphone with the Android operating system. During the arrest of Angulo, the police found a phone in his Ford Mustang.
The specific model of the smartphone in the search warrant is not specified.
Police seized the suspect’s smartphone in January and even received permission to unlock it using face recognition or fingerprint: in the first case, the device had to be held in front of the owner, in the second – to make him put his finger on the scanner. But agents of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have not been able to bypass the blockage with their tools and hacking methods.
According to the department’s request, they asked for another 120 days to grant them access to the device system. The legal representative of the defendant in the case was not specified. At the time of publication, the US Department of Justice did not provide comments at the request of Forbes.
So, now Android smartphones are safer than iPhone?
Forensic sources claim that, in some cases, the level of data protection in the Google operating system has become too high for the police or anyone else with direct access to the device to bypass. A representative of a large organization that deals with solutions in the field of mobile forensics, believes: “Some say that the iPhone is even less secure (than an Android smartphone).”
Google, like Apple, constantly adds new functions to its operating system, explains Vladimir Katalov, CEO of Elcomsoft, a provider of solutions in the field of mobile and digital forensics. One of the key innovations in Android in recent years has become the “safe mode” function, thanks to which all the internal contents of a smartphone are encrypted, and access to data is possible only with a password or through face or fingerprint recognition.
An anonymous source notes that it takes a lot of time to bypass the iPhone security system, but as soon as the iOS gadget gets hacked, the same method can be easily applied to any other Apple device. In the case of Android, everything is much more complicated, since every smartphone manufacturer from Google has fragmented the operating system into hundreds of different versions for many different models. If a policeman or a criminalist manages, for example, to hack a Google Pixel smartphone, then the same trick with a gadget from another company may not work.
“Although some Android smartphones can be unlocked using universal methods, new models may have specific functions that have to look for specific ways to bypass protection. In addition, it sometimes happens that in order to enhance data security, smartphones with a standard operating system build are significantly modified, ”said Peter Sommer, a teacher in digital forensics at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
Especially acute security issue developed by Google platform is for Huawei, the largest manufacturer of Android-smartphones in the world. The Chinese technology giant will very soon lose access to its latest devices to Google security updates. All due to the fact that the administration of Donald Trump has banned US companies to conduct any joint business with Huawei.
Nevertheless, the iPhone is still ahead of Android smartphones in some aspects. When Forbes editors tested facial recognition systems on a number of smartphones running Google’s system, technology showed varying degrees of reliability on various gadgets.
With a three-dimensional dummy of the head, it was possible to unlock all the smartphones on Android, but the fastest and in any light this was obtained with the OnePlus 6, while Samsung and LG gadgets were more difficult to deceive. Editorial Forbes also tested Apple’s face recognition system. But the dummy could not unlock the iPhone. Therefore, in iOS, the screen unlock system is much safer.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for VOP from different countries around the world – edited and published by VOP staff in our newsroom.
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