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Apple Blocking iPhone Security Software 148

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-we-said-so dept.
Barence writes "Speaking exclusively to PC Pro, Eugene Kaspersky has claimed Apple has repeatedly refused to deliver the software development kit necessary to design security software for the phone. 'We have been in contact for two years with Apple to develop our anti-theft software, [but] still we do not have permission,' said Kaspersky. Although he admits the risk of viruses infecting the iPhone is 'almost zero,' he claims that securing the data on the handset is critical, especially as iPhones are increasingly being used for business purposes. 'I don't want to say Apple's is the wrong way of behaving, or the right way,' Kaspersky added. 'It's just a corporate culture — it wants to control everything.'"
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Apple Blocking iPhone Security Software

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  • No shock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kennedy (18142) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:43PM (#31440536) Homepage

    Why would apple want to allow someone to create and market direct competition for it's own anti-theft service (MobileMe)?

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:45PM (#31440558) Homepage

    This is more about the closed nature of the App Store more than the necessity (or lack thereof) for a security app. In fact, the sporadic and seemingly hypocritical nature of Apple's approval process alone is reason enough for me to not get an iPhone (being stuck on AT&T and having no hardware keyboard are the other two reasons...although I could look past those two if it meant anyone could had an app put up for download.)

    Granted, you can jailbreak an iPhone and install whatever you want, but I shouldn't have to hack a phone just so I can use whatever program I want on it. Being held to Apple's decision on what I can or can't use on there is a deal breaker for me.

  • by Cyberax (705495) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:50PM (#31440660)

    Two words: browser exploits.

  • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:51PM (#31440664)

    The iPhone has enterprise tools available for anti-theft, too. It can encrypt all data by default and remotely wipe the device, and even end users can get the GPS coordinates of the device if they have MobileMe.

    Their control of the App Store is abusing and ridiculous, but i don't see a lack of anti-theft features here.

  • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:54PM (#31440710)
    Just because the iPhone has similar functionality built in doesn't mean 3rd party vendors shouldn't be able to compete. I happen to be writing this comment with Firefox on a machine that came with IE already...

    Also, doesn't change the fact that he was clueless what the article was about.
  • Just say "no". (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argent (18001) <peter.slashdot@2006@taronga@com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:01PM (#31440820) Homepage Journal

    The antivirus companies have been pushing antivirus software for handheld devices since 1999.

    In the succeeding decade... so far as I'm aware... the damage caused by viruses on handhelds, ALL handhelds, has been less than the damage due to one false positive incident caused by Norton Antivirus shortly after the pointless hubbub over the Palm "Phage" malware.

    Antivirus software for handhelds... just say "no".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:12PM (#31440998)

    No, see, they just redefine malware. Even if it looks like malware [aviary.com], walks like malware [switched.com], and quacks like malware [gizmodo.com], if Apple allows it, it's clearly not malware.

  • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:13PM (#31441008)

    Just because the iPhone has similar functionality built in doesn't mean 3rd party vendors shouldn't be able to compete. I happen to be writing this comment with Firefox on a machine that came with IE already....

    Apple doesn't want to give developers access to the API's to do things like remote wipe. So they either block everyone from doing it or they make an exception for certain vendors. Apple isn't very big on making exceptions for any external company, even Google gets the choice of doing it the Apple way or hitting the highway. Nobody seems to mind in this case except the anti-virus cartel who are seeing their core market melt way now Windows is becoming secure and they don't have a foothold in this decade's growth market, mobile devices.

  • butthurt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stokessd (89903) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:24PM (#31441138) Homepage

    It appears that Kaspersky is butthurt because it sees a potential market for more crap we don't need and the controllers of that market don't want, and have the ability to lock them out of that market.

    From Apple's point of view, they have remote wipe on both the corporate and personal levels already. And having somebody inside your shorts providing duplicate functionality is fail from top to bottom. I'm surprised that apple even answered the phone when they saw who was calling.

    Also Kaspersky can have the SDK anytime they want, it's free. They will have to pay $99 to actually deploy the apps though. What they want is a super special "inside your shorts" SDK that I'd bet isn't coming anytime soon.

    Sheldon

  • by RulerOf (975607) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:24PM (#31441140)

    The app store is NOT about security, it does not make you magically protected.

    The app store is about Apple's guaranteed 30% cut.

  • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:24PM (#31441142)

    While AT&T are bad verizon is just as bad if not worse. Ihave watched verizons 3G network slow to a crawl.

    You trade speed for coverage between AT&T and Verizon. Just like there are tradeoffs between an iPhone or an Android phone or Blackberry. Decide based on the features you want which is best for you personally.

    To date the spyware and hacks that have been succesful only target jail broken phones. Why because people are stupid and install things wrong.

    But this isn't an anti-hacking application, so that doesn't apply. This is an anti-theft applications. You know, in case your phone is stolen.

    So why not approve it? I can think of two reasons:
    1) Does things beyond the API or agreement allows, particularly with encryption.
    2) Apple provides an anti-theft service, which this application would compete with.

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:27PM (#31441206) Journal

    The reason he had to jailbreak his iPhone, no doubt, is because otherwise it would have been completely impossible to write a firewall for it, or to hide the phone’s UDID.

    How about you actually read his blog? The apps he was testing are from the AppStore...

    Top Gun from the iPhone AppStore is currently number 24 on the AppStore paid applications list.

    Another accelerometer game, this time a Top Gun remake.

    Version tested: 1.2 (current as of writing)

    This iPhone app is Pinchmedia enabled, it tracks and reports the following:
    - iPhone UDID
    - iPhone model & firmware version
    - application code
    - application version
    - iPhone jailbreak status
    - if app is pirated/cracked
    - application startup & exit times
    - has an entry for lat/lon but its not used

    Max Injury from the iPhone AppStore is currently number 11 on the AppStore paid applications list.

    A mini-game where you have to maximize the damage to a dummy via various challenges.

    Version tested: 1.0.2 (current as of writing)

    This application is flurry enabled, if you have PrivaCy 0.9.3037-2 or above the metrics will be blocked. This app tracks:

    - application ID & version
    - iPhone model, firmware
    - iPhone UDID

    Or how about this one, which not only reports your UDID but also your phone number:

    iMobsters from the iPhone AppStore is currently number 14 on the AppStore free applications list

    Lets cut to the chase on this one, this is another Storm8 iPhone app the same as Vampires Live.

    During use, the application tracks and reports:
    - your mobile phone number
    - application version, number
    - unique ID of your iPhone
    - points (if applicable)
    - iPhone model
    - firmware version

  • by DdJ (10790) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:28PM (#31441226) Homepage Journal

    I'm undecided on whether this particular behavior on Apple's part is a bad thing (as opposed to other cases, like the Google Voice one, where I'm sure it's a bad thing, and the Opera Mini one, where I'm at least leaning that way).

    On desktops, it seems to me that various web ads or email messages encouraging users to install some third-party "security tool" are a major infection vector for malware/spyware. Many, many of the sorts of people who buy Apple products -- and I say this as an Apple user myself -- are... not the sorts of people who routinely make informed decisions about computer security.

    Certainly, if third parties are permitted to sell iPhone security software, one might reasonably want them to be subject to considerably more oversight than other software, because of the potential for damage. Again, not because the software is "magic" or other software can't behave badly, but because of the particular ways most real-world users brains just shut down when dealing with security issues. Most people really don't have the mindset for this stuff.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:43PM (#31441458) Journal

    However Spyware on the iPhone is rife

    That's not a bug, that's a feature.
    The whole point of locking down hardware (at least on a mobile platform) is to create a captive audience.

  • Re:No shock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:44PM (#31441462)

    Why doesn't Microsoft forbid Firefox and OO.org teams from using Windows SDK?

    Kaspersky's not blocked from using the SDK, he can use the same one all other developers are using and can use the same APIs. He could even call private APIs and run his software on his own device, it would just mean he couldn't sell it through the appstore.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @03:40PM (#31442474)

    Except that the iPhone isn't the only phone you can buy and thus you don't have to put up with the rules Apple sets for it's App store unless you choose to buy an iPhone. Thus your analogy falls completely apart.

  • Re:No shock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @03:49PM (#31442654) Homepage

    There's a bit of a difference between having money and being willing to p*ss it away all over the place.

    The latter tends to interfere with the former.

  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @03:58PM (#31442846) Journal

    User tracking, targeted advertisements, etc.

    Just recently, the EFF showed that [eff.org] seemingly-innocuous information is probably enough to uniquely identify you from the hundreds of thousands or millions of visitors to a particular site. And that’s not even on the same playing field as a vendor-assigned unique device ID.

    You know who else has your phone number? EVERYONE.

    No. Nobody has my phone number except the people I’ve given it to.

    AT&T has your phone number too...where is the uproar?

    And I’m pretty sure they can’t sell it to 3rd parties without my consent.

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