updated 04:00 pm EDT, Fri June 17, 2011
AV maker Kaskpersky wants iOS opened up
Kasperksy's chief technical officer Nikolay Grebennikov in a discussion Friday argued that Apple had a mandate to open iOS to non-App Store titles. He believed that Apple "simply can't continue" with its contained approach and, to eliminate the drubbing in market share, had to loosen restrictions. In spite of Apple's self-contained system keeping out rogue apps, he told Computing he didn't believe the company could properly contain malware and needed antivirus firms like Kaspersky to take care of the code.
"Apple is the only protector of its iPhone and iPad users but they don't know the real situation with threats," Grebennikov said. "It's not possible to create the products they create, and be a world leader in security too; that expertise is elsewhere."
The comments came in spite of no visible malware on stock iOS. While questions have been raised about the power of iOS and anti-competitive action by limiting most users signed apps from the App Store, the only known instances of hostile code have targeted jailbroken iPhones, where code signing limits are turned off. Some have suggested that Apple should follow a model closer to that HP uses for webOS, where developers are allowed to offer apps outside of the official app store but have to get a very basic signing requirement in case malware or legal requirements force HP to take action.
Kaspersky as an anti-malware developer also has a bias in making the argument since it can't sell its apps to iOS users with the current policies. Opening the app restrictions would simultaneously raise the likelihood of malware attacks and help feed Kasperky's business.
On Android, meanwhile, malware has been a growing problem. Most of the issues have come from apps outside Android Market that Google can't control. Some, though, have been masked in legitimate apps on Android Market that could do damage to casual users.