Nobody can dispute the iPhone’s reign over the smart phone market. Reports have confirmed what many have surmised: previous-generation iPhone models outsell newer Android smart phones, and with four million iPhone 4S models sold in the first three days of its release, Apple is holding strong as a top mobile retailer. Knowing Apple holds a significant market share for mobile devices (phones, touchpads, and laptops) consumers and IT specialists alike are left wondering: how secure are Apple’s products?
So far, Apple has been able to avoid addressing this concern due to the simple fact that there are very few hackers targeting the iOS platform. Still, the fact remains that iOS 5 is faced with a variety of security risks.
Recently, a hole in iOS security was exploited by well-known security consultant Charlie Miller. He demonstrated this potentially dangerous security threat by uploading an app to the Apple App Store that could download malicious code using third-party servers. The use of similar malware apps could allow remote access to an individual’s photos, contacts and other personal information stored on iOS devices.
Unfortunately, this malware app demonstration isn’t the first iOS security threat to be uncovered. A glaring security risk involves the iPad. Using a smart cover, anyone can unlock the iPad 2 and view whatever was left up on the screen. Ways to access videos, music and images on a locked iOS device without authentication have also been found. The “slide to call” feature on iOS 5 allows anyone access to the phone’s missed call list, giving unauthorized users limited access to contacts and call history. All this on top of the webmail hacks and phishing scams that users have fallen victim to while using the mobile web browser.
Addressing these security concerns will not be an easy task. With Apple’s unique operating system infrastructure, it is a challenge to create anti-virus apps that effectively protect against malware and malicious code. The traditional security programs that work so well to protect Windows and Android devices simply cannot work with iOS.
So are Apple mobile devices secure enough for business use? Can businesses safely rely on iOS 5 for mobile computer networking? As with any operating system, iOS 5 is not completely immune to security threats. However, Apple products are not a large target for viruses and malware. In addition, new security enhancing apps are being introduced to the public to help protect Apple mobile devices from these threats.
The short answer is that all computer networking systems, especially networks that include mobile devices, have the potential for breaches in security. That being said, Apple products are most likely safer than Windows or Android products because hackers and malicious code writers are less likely to target iOS devices. If your business is having trouble deciding which mobile devices to use, contact a business IT consulting firm. They can help you weigh the pros and cons that come with using Apple, Windows, or Android phones and they can answer any questions you may have regarding their operating systems.
Author: Penny A Lee