Android Kernel Security Above Average, Below Linux - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Software
News
11/2/2010
06:08 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Android Kernel Security Above Average, Below Linux

An analysis of Android on an HTC Droid Incredible identified 359 code defects.

Best Mobile Apps For Busy Professionals
(click image for larger view)
Best Mobile Apps For Busy Professionals

Android devices may be viewed with more suspicion than rival smartphones because the more relaxed policing of Android Market apps suggests greater potential risk. But the openness of Android code turns out to be a benefit rather than a liability, at least from a security standpoint.

An analysis of the Android kernel on an HTC Droid Incredible reveals about half as many software defects as expected, according to a report released by software security firm Coverity on Monday.

The Android kernel was found to have 0.47 defects per thousand lines of code, compared to an average of 1 defect per thousand lines of code.

But if Android is twice as good as the industry average, it's half as good as the Linux kernel in terms of defect density. The Android operating system is based upon Linux.

Coverity says this is to be expected given that Android-specific components have been written more recently and newer code tends to have a higher defect density than code that has endured years of static analysis, like the Linux kernel.

Coverity's analysis found 359 defects in the shipping version of Android on an HTC Droid Incredible, 88 of which it classifies as high-risk defects. These flaws include memory corruption bugs, illegal memory access bugs, and resource leaks.

It should be stressed that defects identified in this manner are not necessarily exploitable.

The firm concludes that Android's core platform is sold and that the Android-specific components need further attention to match the standards of Linux.

"We hope that by raising the visibility of the code across the supply chain for Android that the multiple software and device vendors that make Android devices can gain better visibility into the quality of the software components they are using and help hold each other accountable for delivering a high quality end product," Coverity's report says.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of the Cloud Report
As the use of public cloud becomes a given, IT leaders must navigate the transition and advocate for management tools or architectures that allow them to realize the benefits they seek. Download this report to explore the issues and how to best leverage the cloud moving forward.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll