I’m always left wondering if the greatest military rivalry is between service branches…or smartphone users. Blackberry fans recently got a leg up in the smartphone debate, with the independently produced Enterprise Readiness of Consumer Mobile Platforms putting the device on top for security across a variety of criteria. The Enterprise study considered general device security, app security, authentication, firewalling and virtualization.
The Android came in last in the study, which is problematic considering the amount of time it has been on the market. Google is criticized for being aware of security vulnerabilities with the device and not being proactive in fixing them, or notifying users of upgrades. It’s also a concern considering the government’s embrace of Droid apps often above iPhone or Windows devices.
The security vunlerabilities of the Droid aren’t news to Google – one of the biggest criticisms of the device has been lack of a streamlined system of providing OS upgrades.
Blackberry benefits from its Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES), a bellwether platform for device security, setting strict IT policies at the enterprise level. Great for IT managers and security proponents, not so great for autonomous users. Apple has third-party management options but none have the security features of the BES.
If the Droid is the Wild Wild West of smartphones, the Droid App store is the saloon – and cyber criminals are just waiting to get you drunk on cool toys and steal your money (that might not be my best analogy but you get where I’m going). Lack of vetting and a delay in device patches or security fixes means there are a lot of cyber criminals preying on Droid users who aren’t playing safe.
On the bright side for Google and Android, however, has been how having a relatively open entrance into the Droid app market has created the opportunity for some pretty cool applications. Take this story about a partnership between the University of Missouri College of Engineering and the U.S. Army Leonard Wood Institute. Engineering students and faculty are creating an app that could take a smartphone and turn it into a remote targeting device. The app is in its early stages, but it basically treats the phone as a wireless sensing node. The smartphone will use sight or sound to determine an exact location, using the Droid application. The Android has thus far been used because it’s easier to program.
So, who wins in the battle of the smartphones? Like ice cream flavors and service branches, everyone has a favorite, but at the end of the day Blackberry does take home the gold medal for security.
Lindy Kyzer is the editor of ClearanceJobs.com. She loves cybersecurity, social media, and the U.S. military. Her household consists of three Blackberries, a PlayBook, an iPad, and an iPhone. And like children, she loves each of them equally but in different ways. Have a conference, tip, or story idea to share? Email email@example.com.