Blog

Are Apple Devices Immune to Threats? Don’t Bet On It

Are Apple Devices Immune to Threats? Don’t Bet On It

For a very long time, Apple has been requested to share a workaround for their platform security with law enforcement, which the company has refused outright. Their argument has been that doing so would inherently undermine their lauded security. Well, the feds have given up asking, because they went ahead and developed a workaround themselves… and in doing so, have revealed that iOS isn’t quite as secure as it was purported to be.

Let’s discuss this means for your business’ security.

The Discovery

In mid-January, a team of cryptography researchers published a report that detailed their findings after closely examining the security measures that were implemented in modern mobile devices. Their study, entitled Data Security on Mobile Devices: Current State of the Art, Open Problems, and Proposed Solutions, sought to determine three things:

  1. What security measures are currently in place to help deter unauthorized access to user data
  2. How unauthorized access is obtained on modern devices
  3. How mobile security can be improved to prevent unauthorized access moving forward

After an in-depth analysis of both platforms, the results were clear, but could still surprise a loyalist to Apple and their reputation for untouchable security. While both operating systems performed admirably, neither Android nor iOS had extensive enough security preparations—enabling anyone who had the right equipment, so to say, to access the operating systems.

While the report did state that the researchers were able to “find a powerful and compelling set of security and privacy controls, backed and empowered by strong encryption” in iOS, these tools simply were not used consistently enough to sufficiently secure these devices.

Android’s issue laid more in the diversity of phones and manufacturers that Android can be found in, with lacking communications between Google and phone developers, slowly implemented updates, and differences in software architecture leading to inconsistencies in the platform’s security and privacy controls. Both platforms share a weakness where their data is synchronized with cloud services.

Mind you, these are all vulnerabilities in the physical device and its software infrastructure itself. In the rest of the report, the researchers detailed the specific vulnerabilities that each platform presents.

Apple-Specific Weaknesses

Apple enables users to securely store their data in its iCloud cloud solution, but according to these researchers, that’s not all the data that Apple takes possession of. When the service is initially activated, a ton of other user data is sent to Apple, where it is remotely accessible by lawbreakers and law enforcement alike (although one of these parties would need a subpoena for it).

Adding to the security concerns, the defenses that Apple had included in their devices against unauthorized use even seem to be less effective than originally thought. Based on analysis of available evidence, the research team hypothesizes that a tool has existed since 2018 that enables an attacker to bypass these protections and effectively guess a user’s passcode.

Android-Specific Weaknesses

Android presented some serious problems in its local data protection measures. One glaring example can be found in Android’s equivalent of Apple’s Complete Protection encryption (which removes decryption keys from the device’s memory after it is locked). The big difference between Apple’s solution and Android’s solution is that Apple’s solution exists, whereas Android retains these keys—making them easily capturable.

Hence, why the Federal Bureau of Investigation can access either platform without assistance.

What Does All This Mean?

Frankly, while these discoveries are unwelcome, they aren’t all that surprising.

It is never wise to assume that data is inherently safe, just because it happens to be stored on a particular brand of device. There is no such thing as impenetrable security, so you need to do everything you can to make sure the data that your business possesses—that your users might have access to from their devices—remains protected.

This means that you should implement every tool available to reinforce security around the devices your employees access work documents and resources with. This implementation should involve all company-owned devices, as well as those belonging to your employees that are used in a Bring Your Own Device strategy. The capability to remote wipe a device of sensitive data is not something to take lightly.

Of course, you also need to reinforce the importance of an employee keeping track of their device in the first place. While losing a mobile device is obviously a bad thing on principle alone, losing one with access to sensitive data is worse.

White Mountain IT Services is here to help you see to your devices and the proper management of such. To find out more about what we can do, reach out to our team at 603-889-0800.

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.whitemtn.com/

Related Posts

Tablets are definitely becoming a staple in the consumer electronics world. For the longest time, the tablet PC was an expensive, clunky device that just didn't wow consumers. Some businesses had adopted tablets back in the day, but they were difficu...
Smartphones may have been some of the first Internet-connected mobile devices, but they are still as vulnerable to attack as ever. This is especially true for those who forsake any sort of mobile device security policy. With modern businesses utilizi...
Today’s headlines are dominated by stories of major companies getting hacked, making the average computer user feel uneasy about their security. If you’re solely dependent on a measly password to protect you from hackers, then you’ve got good reason ...
The online world is a scary place. Viruses, malware, spyware, adware, and more are all out there trying to get at your network. These threats are almost always prevalent, but compared to each other, some are vastly superior and far more dangerous and...
It’s the nature of technology to grow more complex over time, and as it does, the types of threats grow alongside it. Security is now more important than ever before, and if your business is not prepared to handle the threats that lurk in the shadows...
Even the most innocent Internet user can fall victim to the stray hacking attack, and it’s all thanks to the manner in which malware reverse-engineers software. This process is how a hacker finds vulnerabilities in software. However, a new security c...
Accessibility and mobility are important parts of a business’s data infrastructure. To this end, some businesses take advantage of a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which has the power to extend a personal network over a private network like the Inter...
Just like Silk Road (the illegal online black market designed to smuggle drugs around the world), there exists an online trade for zero-day exploits. Unsurprisingly, hackers find it exceptionally lucrative to sell these exploits for profit. Now, ther...
When you think of the Internet of Things, does your mind immediately wander into the realm of connected devices that change the way we interact with each other? Or, does it consider the security issues that can potentially become a threat to your ent...
Network security entails a ton of different procedures, and it can be easy to lose track of what you’ve already implemented, and what still needs to be done. Instead of worrying about keeping your business’s confidential data safe, know with certaint...
It might seem like the obvious reason for hacks and data loss is due to technology being unpredictable, but in all reality, it’s important to remember that some of the problems we experience with technology come from the people operating it. To this ...
People use and reuse old passwords time and again, and then they get two-factor authentication to augment their fifteen-character passwords. Wouldn’t it be great if your computer could recognize you just by how well you recognize others?...

Onsite Service Coverage Area

Although we provide remote services and support to businesses in over 20 states, onsite services are limited to within reasonable driving distance from our offices in NH.  We will manage a local vendor for locations outside of our service area to provide onsite assistance when needed.

 

Onsite Computer Support Services are available to businesses within 60 miles of Nashua New Hampshire. We have excellent onsite coverage from Concord NH, south through Manchester NH, and then down into Boston. From Northern and Central Mass, we cover from Worcester, east to the North Shore, including the Salem and Portsmouth NH area.

 

White Mountain IT Services


33 Main Street, Suite 302
Nashua, NH 03064

 


121 Riverfront Drive
Manchester, NH 03102

603-889-0800

Open Positions