Apple unwittingly admits security flaws in iOS 8


Apple may have just accidentally admitted that iOS isn’t as secure as the flocks might like to believe. iOS 8.2 has been plagued with some issues from malware and viruses. Attacks from things such as WireLurker, Masque Attack and Xagent have been able to infect iPhones from third party app markets.

Apple’s excuse to taking down virus blocking apps is that so long as their users keep to the official App store and do not jail break their phones then they are not in any danger. It is reported however that some of the phones which have been infected were not jail-broken at all and that there are some serious security flaws in iOS 8.

I can’t help but feel this is all reeks a bit of denial from Apple. They have this image of a perfect device which cannot get viruses or malware. While this is true in most cases, this is only through rigorous policing of what they allow their users to do. Having applications such as VirusBarrier on their official app store and by allowing it to stay means there must be a reason.

Intego, the company which developed VirusBarrier iOS have released a statement regarding the issue;

“Apple has elected to eliminate the category of anti-virus and anti-malware products from their iOS App Store.”

“We apologize but will no longer be able to provide product updates”

So it seems Apple have decided to allay fears for their loyal fan base. By removing the category entirely, they will bring the image of iOS back to one that portrays it as an untouchable masterpiece.

Of course, security is becoming an increasing issue for Apple. Everybody knows about the iCloud hacking that took place, there is a very understandable explanation for this too. In the following example, Apple devices are represented by a posh sports car whilst Windows / everything else are represented by a terrible, common car.

You’re a master car thief. You’re walking down a crowded street full of 30 common cars. Down this street there is one, maybe two nice cars in amongst the rubbish. What would you steal? The rubbish car of course, less reprieve, easier and you know exactly what you’re doing with them. They have a door lock and an immobiliser, the person will be upset that it’s gone, they will probably report it to the police. But they won’t care, they’ll get over it and move on.

On the other hand, you might consider the nicer car, the more expensive one. Sure, it’s worth more but the risk is much greater. You don’t know what fancy engine disabling technology it has, it might be tracked, it might automatically alert the police once you attempt breaking in. Once you steal it, it might be too high risk an item to pass on because everyone you know doesn’t want to touch it. (Bear with me I’m going somewhere with this).

I hope you understand my analogy and know that neither myself, nor the Gadget Helpline endorse car thievery.

The problem is, Apple are becoming ever increasingly popular. So now, when you walk down a street, it’s full of nice cars. (The analogy is strong with this one). As it becomes a more popular and more common brand it will draw the attention of those that like to cause trouble.

What I am basically saying is that as Apple has become more popular with users, it will naturally become more popular amongst hackers / viruses etc.

Apple are going to have to admit, sooner or later, that their iOS is only “invulnerable” in the past because it was never really targeted by the mass market of virus/malware/worms etc. Sadly, the bigger they get, the bigger the target symbol on their back becomes too.

Time will tell.

See also: Apple Ups Security On FaceTime, iMessage

And: Mac OS X Security is 10 years behind