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Security pros see iPhone as worst workplace risk

updated 12:20 pm EDT, Thu March 25, 2010

Apple accused of leaving iPhone vulnerable

The iPhone is the highest-risk smartphone to carry into the workplace, a study of security professionals found on Thursday. Of those asked by nCircle, 57 percent said Apple's phone is the worst mobile device threat, followed in a distant second by Android at 39 percent. Only 28 percent said the BlackBerry line is the problem, while Nokia's Symbian-based phones accounted for just 13 percent of smartphone security fears.

Among those asked, the apparent shunning of Apple came mostly from its continued lack of interest in enterprise-class security. Although it made gestures towards this with the addition of hardware encryption to the iPhone 3GS and multiple administration features like remote wipe, Apple hasn't actively maintained any of these efforts, nCircle's Security Operations Director Andrew Storms said.

"The general consensus is that Apple continues to do only the absolute minimum to address enterprise security and supportability requirements," he said. "[Hardware encryption] was almost immediately subverted. This is not the kind of behavior security professionals want to see in vendors."

The statements come despite Android lacking hardware encryption and having features that, while powerful, lend themselves more to security risks. As apps don't always need to be signed and can expose features such as the file system, Android devices can theoretically have all their data compromised in software and be used to carry off data of their own. BlackBerries have usually been some of the most secure as they have more sophisticated hardware encryption than the iPhone as well as tight control over access and more mature enterprise-level management.

The perception of the iPhone hasn't precluded it gaining a stronger footprint in large business, where its Exchange support has given it a place alongside BlackBerry and Windows Mobile in some offices. Some companies, especially those working with secret data or worried about leaks, have either discouraged iPhone use or actively banned it for at least some employees.

by MacNN Staff



  1. QualleyIV

    Joined: Dec 1969


    "Security Professionals"

    People who call themselves "security professionals" comprise what is probably the single biggest group of douchebags anywhere...

  1. bonaccij

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This is just completely misguided. Although the iPhone itself lacks the "security" (and I use that term very loosely) that "IT Professionals" (read that as mostly Windows Geeks) require, most Enterprise-class software used on these devices DOES. Great! So you can hack into an iPhone, but I'll guarantee you can't get to my sensitive material because it is on software that prevents that very behavior!

    The iPhone is a tool, people. It is up to us IT Professionals to make sure that we are securing our content BEFORE it gets to the iPhone- and there are PLENTY of apps that do that for us. The problem is you just need to know where to look.

    Sheesh! People love to try to poke holes in stuff that doesn't really exist. Everyone is so afraid. The day is QUICKLY coming where IT will have to admit that, more and more, to get business done, people will need to have a similar working experience at home AND at the office.

    The days of the super-locked-down ecosystem are a thing of the past. Apple puts out a device and it is up to those who are supposed to be "in the know" to make it work in their environments. It should never be up to a vendor to decide how IT must perform their day-to-day operations. The groundwork has been done, kids, now run with it.

  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    As opposed to

    Windows based environment? ahahahahaha

    Can we just tally up the billions spent the last couple of years fixing Windows based security failures in the workplace? We're talking tens of billions of dollars already. What a joke.

  1. mgpalma

    Joined: Dec 1969


    What do you want to bet...

    When MS's Zune phone comes out, they'll say it's great and way more secure than the iPhone?

    Wager anyone? Anyone?

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Android has no enterprise security.

    How can these so-called "experts say that the iPhone is less secure than Android when there is no support for active sync policy provisioning and no full device hardware encryption?

    The iPhone 3GS has Activesync policy support, remote wipe through exchange and full device hardware encryption support.

    These guys are paid shills working for RIM.

  1. igroucho

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's their @$$e$

    I hate those so called IT-pros who never come down from their entrenched ivory-towers to ask us users what we want or what they can do for us. They're mostly people no good for honest jobs who have found an easy way for the bux , talkin a lot, lookin stern and doin nothin. The only platform they know is M$ which is of course the safeguard for their being. Of course they fanboy Blackberry/Nokia because those phones are as dull as their blue suits & ties.

  1. JeffHarris

    Joined: Dec 1969


    iPhone: Biggest Risk to JOB Security

    iPhone use leads to Mac lust, purchase and a desire to use at work.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Oh please

    Two comments:

    - aren't dishonest employees the worst workplace risk for security. If employees want to compromise data, then they'll do it with something you don't even know about

    - "The general consensus is that Apple continues to do only the absolute minimum to address enterprise security and supportability requirements," Uhm... sure, what do you expect? How good has Enterprise been to Apple over the years? Maybe if corporate IT departments didn't spread lies to prevent people from using Macs in the workplace over the years, Apple would be a little more amenable to cooperating with them.

  1. peter02l

    Joined: Dec 1969


    IT personnel

    In fact, IT itself is the biggest security risk for any company.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. luckyday

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The only jobs apple is good for is Steve.

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