updated 10:11 pm EST, Thu March 6, 2014
Users move to 7.0.6 quickly to avoid threat of SSL and VPN-based attack
Following the discovery of a dormant but serious flaw in iOS 6 and iOS 7's handling of VPN and SSL security and the release of a patch by Apple to handle the issue, advertising and content-presentation company Onswipe estimates that more than 50 percent of the entire iOS userbase has already moved to iOS 7.0.6 as of March 3, under two weeks since the update became available. The transition has set a record for the fastest in iOS history.
In part, credit for the quick upgrading cycle is due to the update being available and easy to install on every compatible iOS device at the same time -- a major difference between iOS and Android, the latter of which is managed mostly by carriers, which often make users wait days, weeks or even months for updates, even when security fixes are included. This plays a leading role in Android's responsibility for 99 percent of mobile malware, according to a study from networking company Cisco.
Another factor in the faster-than-normal (even for iOS) upgrade may have been the threat of users having their security compromised. In fact, the flaw could only be taken advantage of under specific circumstances, but it was nonetheless a threat to those who frequently use public Wi-Fi networks rather than cellular data. The vulnerability made possible a hack known as a "Man in the Middle" attack, where others using the same Wi-Fi network as the target and running specific decryption tools could decode supposedly secure SSL connections and gain access to passwords and other encrypted data.
According to Onswipe and corroborated by mobile ad agency Chitika, adoption of the 7.0.6 update had hit more than 26 percent in just the first four days after the release, underscoring how seriously iOS users take security warnings, despite their great rarity. A similar flaw was found in OS X, prompting the rush-release of OS X 10.9.2, which reportedly has had similarly quick adoption.