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iPhones more vulnerable to Internet-based threats?

updated 04:40 pm EDT, Mon August 17, 2009

iPhones more vulnerable?

iPhones may be more susceptible to Internet-related threats, a recent Trend Micro survey suggests. The study is based on 1,000 smartphone users 18 years or older, and seeks to shed light on public beliefs about smartphone security. According to the survey, when compared with other smartphone users, iPhone owners generally use their phone's web browser more, and spend more time shopping online, visiting media-sharing websites, and sending and receiving larger quantities of e-mail, which can often involve URLs they click on. Malicious hackers and scammers may be drawn to the iPhone due to this fact, says Trend Micro.

The survey adds that 44 percent of respondents think using the Internet on their phone is as safe, if not safer than doing the same on their PC. The report suggests that only 23 percent of smartphone owners utilize security software readily available to them, and that one out of five respondents do not believe installing additional software would help. Of all the users surveyed, 20 percent have encountered phishing scams, which are designed to lure victims into supplying identification, financial information, and/or names and passwords, typically through replies to e-mail messages.

Various security flaws have surfaced in iPhone 3.0 firmware recently, such as SMS vulnerabilities and issues with Mail.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. George3

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2008



    So what security software is available for mobile devices? Got a Link? And the iPhone specifically since that is what the story is about.

    And what proof is there of the accusations?

    Did you have better examples?

  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    Actually if you read the article you'd see Trend has their own iphone security app and I believe Mcafee is coming out with one also.

    I don't think they need proof of the accusation. The accusation is simply that because the iphone is so widespread and so many users are accessing insecure information on the internet, they are more susceptible to malware, spam, etc. It's not a brilliant observation; rather, its pretty obvious... It's a numbers game. I.e. If you drive more, you are more susceptible to get into a car accident.

    I think the two examples they give related to iphone security are pretty good. MMS hack was a huge one. Apple's inability to properly address safety concerns, coupled with the widespread use of the internet on the iphone, results in higher risk to the users.

    Get it?

  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    You wanted more proof of their security flaws? Saw this just now on Giz.

  1. ViktorCode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006



    What Trend Micro actually means, if you read past their FUD, is that the iPhone is more likely to be attacked through the browser than any other mobile phone, owing to the usage statistics. However, the success of those attacks is another matter.

    Safari on iPhone is sandboxed, while desktop browsers are not (in general, though you can with certain effort isolate them... not on every OS). Safari on iPhone is considered secure by Charlie Miller, who hacks Macs / iPhone for living. For me this opinion alone is enough, but considering the origin of this "more vulnerable" info...

    Do you know what Trend Micro and other AV software makers do for a living? They are spreading FUD. No technical facts provided, no security holes mentioned, just a poll. That's it, a poll. So, approach "more vulnerable" claim here as a big pile of fresh steaming... FUD.

  1. JulesLt

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005



    It depends what you mean by properly address. If you mean fixing vulnerabilities before they are publicly disclosed - they often do - check the content of the security updates. These don't get any publicity - only unclosed vulns generate publicity.

    As for the most recent iPhone one - 48 hours is less time that most AV/security software take to roll out updates of new threats. I will install third party OS X security software the day that I know it will stop a threat faster than Apple roll out a patch.

    (I have a sneaking suspicion they had the fix ready to roll out before the black hat conference, and could have rolled it out ahead, but this is a great way of ensuring people install the update, rather than ignoring it - which I frequently do with OS X and Windows updates as they mean rebooting).

    Secondly, anyone who mouths off about Apple (or Microsoft's) security doesn't develop software. There was a time when criticizing Microsoft's out-of-the-box Windows install was valid, but now their problems are much the same as Apple's - i.e. bugs rather than stupid decisions like auto-run/auto-install code.

  1. Fast iBook

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2003




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