The announcement of the launch of the Apple iPad has led to concerns being raised not only about the security implications, but also the extra strain put on mobile operators. [...]
Mike Romo, senior product manager at Symantec who works on Norton products for the Mac, said that from a security point of view, developers are still beholden to Apple.
He said: "The iPad now runs mobile versions of their popular iWork suite, which opens the door for downloading and sharing important business files. This does push security more into the fore than years past, as users will be open to non-Apple approved bits coming into their device (other than media files).
"Symantec will endeavour to provide the relevant products, but right now we are hampered by the limitations, such as they are, of the current mobile OS in iPad, iPod touch and iPhone, primarily because we cannot run processes in the background. For example, if you are checking your email, we cannot scan an attachment for viruses because our scanning engine cannot run while the mail program is running.
"Similarly, we cannot run our phishing protection engine (which scans pages while they load for threats as opposed to just checking to see if the site is listed as a phishing site) because the Safari browser is running. Of course, that is just one aspect (an important aspect to be sure) of what we do; there are other more assistive solutions that we are investigating, but from a classical security perspective (Symantec protecting you from malicious threats entering your system), we need a bit more flexibility in the OS. Happily, the rumour mill is already back in action, with hopes that iPhone OS 4.0 will actually allow background apps, but we’ll have to wait for that to happen later this year, if at all."
Francisco Martin Abreu, president and CEO of Optenet, claimed that as mobile operators compete to add the latest devices to satisfy customers’ desire to stay connected anytime and anywhere, those that cannot offer sophisticated and built-in security for its customers will be the ones who find it hard to survive.