June 29, 2011
The experts at Symantec have published a report that compares security on Apple’s iOS mobile operating system with that of Google’s Android platform. The end result is mostly good news for Apple and its customers, according to Apple Insider. According to its 23-page, “A Window Into Mobile Device Security,” Symantec states Apple has “proved a deterrent against malware attacks, data loss attacks, data integrity attacks, and denial of service attacks." The report characterized iOS as "well designed and thus far...has proven largely resistant to attack." The reason for this essentially falls on Apple’s decision to create a closed-system. The company’s “provenance approach” is a “strong security barrier, as every app that is to be released on the App Store goes through vetting procedures.” The report wasn’t all good news for iOS. First, iOS beat Android in every security category but one. However, that lone category, isolation, is somewhat significant. On this point, Symantec concludes, while iOS "totally prevents traditional types of computer viruses and worms, and limits the data that spyware can access," Symantec said it does not "prevent all classes of data loss attacks, resource abuse attacks, or data integrity attacks." Second, Symantec found 200 different security holes in iOS that have yet to be addressed dating back to 2007 when the first iPhone was released. Luckily, “the bulk of issues (here) were found to be of lower severity, which, according to the report, would allow the assailant to "take control of a single process but not permit the attacker to take administrator-level control of the device."” As much as some dislike Apple’s “closed system,” this report suggests it is the correct approach, at least in terms of security. For more information, you can review the entire document here. Thoughts?