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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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  • by Yvanhoe (564877) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:43PM (#31440522) Journal
    Leaving Kaspersky out is the first interesting feature I see in this whole Apple App Store scheme !
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If there's anything we learned from the PC universe, it's that many people would rather have viruses run transparently in the background than have their machines slow to a crawl because of overbearing security suites that often don't even identify proper threats.

      Having tried the iPhone, I think it's a decent gadget, but it's not fast enough to be able to take performance hits from inefficient security suites.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Yvanhoe (564877)

        If there's anything we learned from the PC universe, it's that many people would rather have viruses run transparently in the background than have their machines slow to a crawl because of overbearing security suites that often don't even identify proper threats.

        That's a very interesting point. Virus used to wreak havoc on the targeted computer and destroy files, reboot the machine, etc... Nowadays, all that they hope for is to be able to steal stealthily a few percent of resources and bandwidth. About the same as the antivirus except he is not very stealthy about it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        f there's anything we learned from the PC universe, it's that many people would rather have viruses run transparently in the background than have their machines slow to a crawl because of overbearing security suites that often don't even identify proper threats.

        I'm not sure what PC universe you spend time in, but in mine most users prefer both. They love to run the overbearing security suites because then they *know* they're secure, and don't have to worry about all those weird other things running transparently in the background.

      • by mellon (7048)

        That's not even the worst of it. The worst of it is that in order for Kaspersky's suite to do anything useful, you'd have to give it full access to the machine. If you give it full access to the machine, suddenly you're *less* secure, because you installed a "security app." So not only do your batteries last a quarter as long, you'll probably get a virus you couldn't have got otherwise.

    • Leaving Kaspersky out is the first interesting feature I see in this whole Apple App Store scheme !

      Kaspersky has to wait in line with the rest of us to get at portions of the iPhone API's that aren't "public" or blessed by Apple. Their situation isn't even remotely unique.

  • It's called Apple App Store, they control absolutely every piece of software that can be installed in your Iphone, I can't see the need for any anti-virus solution...
    • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:48PM (#31440620)

      We have been in contact for two years with Apple to develop our anti-theft software...

      I know lots of people never RTFA, but you couldn't even get through the summary? Here's your sign.

      • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:51PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Dancindan84 (1056246)
          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.
          • by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:13PM (#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.

            • by mjwx (966435)

              Apple isn't very big on making exceptions for any external company

              Ahhh, so that's why all the bikini applications got pulled from the App Store(TM) but Playboy and Sports illustrated are still in there.

          • by timeOday (582209)

            Just because the iPhone has similar functionality built in doesn't mean 3rd party vendors shouldn't be able to compete.

            Apple dosn't see it that way [intomobile.com]. They openly reject competition with Apple software on the iPhone.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:58PM (#31440768)

          Man, you obviously don't deal in the real world or at least in large org.

          Google for a couple of mins and you find that the "encryption" on the latest iPhone 3GS has already been broken.

          There's no proper central management of the device; the iPhone has to be tethered.

          If you set some settings on the device, there's nothing stopping the user from changing configuration again.

          So it's fine for you if you want to keep some personal contacts and maybe your shopping list; it's nowhere near the level one would expect it to be used in the financial or government sectors.

          That's why RIM and BES reign supreme in that area.
          I wish Apple would wise up; lord knows I deal constantly with "senior managers" who want to use their toys at our hospital.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by d3ac0n (715594)

            Two words: Good Technology.

            Works on iPhone, Android and WebOS.

            Disclaimer: I do NOT work for Good technology, but was recently asked to research the use of iPhone, WebOS and Droid in my company's enterprise environment and Good is pretty much the very best of the best out there from what I could tell.

            Of course, your mileage may vary.

        • by RulerOf (975607) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:22PM (#31441116)

          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.

          I know this, because I work for an iPhone nut.

          If you're a business user, you're using Exchange 2007 with ActiveSync to remotely manage the iPhone and deliver email. If you've got a wish to drive yourself insane, you're also using MobileMe on that same device.

          MobileMe has some neat features, but quite frankly it's complete bullshit that those features (Find my iPhone et. al.) are mutually exclusive from a phone with an ActiveSync binding. MobileMe + ActiveSync is highly discouraged by all of the Apple support reps I've spoken with, and to date, my boss has had nothing but nightmares involving the combination of the two.

          • by Khyber (864651)

            "MobileMe + ActiveSync is highly discouraged by all of the Apple support reps I've spoken with, and to date, my boss has had nothing but nightmares involving the combination of the two."

            Getting those two to work together is as easy as controlling two computers with Synergy.

            Boss needs to be fired if he's not that competent.

            • by RulerOf (975607)

              Getting those two to work together is as easy as controlling two computers with Synergy.

              It's interesting that you chose Synergy as your example. Synergy is a royal pain in the ass to configure for all but the most logical and technical minded people.

              For a user who doesn't understand how contacts are stored, where they come from, or why they end up getting duplicated (or at least appear to be that way) without making a really stupid car analogy that won't actually transfer back to referenced analogous use of the device... I'll presume you get the idea.

              It just doesn't work or behave the way

          • by smitty97 (995791)

            Ditto on Exchange + Mobileme being very easy to manage together. I even have a couple of CalDAVs in there.

            Work stuff goes into Exchange, personal stuff into Mobileme, nothing stored locally. Don't put your personal contacts into Outlook and all will be well.

            • by RulerOf (975607)
              That may sound easy (and I agree with you, I think it is) but people who don't understand how the abstraction works can't use that kind of setup correctly.

              It just doesn't fall into the "ZOMG I'm a moron and this iPhone is just so intuitive" setup that the phone generally has.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by rworne (538610)

          That's the rub. Why would Apple allow a $5 or $20 app on the AppStore that negates the only other way to remote wipe or track your iPhone?

          Here's the answer: $90/year subscriptions to MobileMe

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Khyber (864651)

          "The iPhone has enterprise tools available for anti-theft, too. "

          Every single one of them useless the moment I turn off the phone and clip the antenna wires so it can't get a signal or just add more wire to completely fuck the antenna. Then it's free reign and I can take all the time I want breaking the encryption.

          Been there, done that, give me something that's actually new and interesting. I have many friends with iPhones and they're always bringing them to me. Anything Apple can do I've already got circum

      • by Khyber (864651)

        Here's your sign, pal. Software won't stop me from JACKING THE FUCKING PHONE FROM YOUR HANDS (what REAL theft entails) after I pound your face in.

        Anti-theft is a misnomer and bullshit - Anti-data breach would be more appropriate.

        Hope that sign isn't too heavy around your neck, I know it's a mighty big one.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cyberax (705495)

      Two words: browser exploits.

      • by Xest (935314)

        Another two: SMS exploits [cnet.com]

        There is also a lot of iPhone software that phones home, and here's the problem, the app store as a security measure is a complete and utter myth. The app store is NOT about security, it does not make you magically protected. It's also worth noting that Apple boasts about having hundreds of thousands applications on it's app store- is anyone really naive enough to believe that Apple is capable of doing a full security audit on each and every one of these applications?

        The app st

        • by RulerOf (975607) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:24PM (#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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by RogerWilco (99615)

          Their control of the App Store and anti-jailbreaking measures are because of one reason: Apple wants to avoid bad publicity.
          When there was this rash of rickrolled iPhones a few months back, most media reported it, but very few mentioned that it only affected jail broken phones. Apple wants to avoid getting into the news like that, because their brand is the most important asset they have.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Yes, because none of those apps could possibly have a bug that would allow malicious code to be installed...

  • by sh0rtie (455432) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:43PM (#31440532)

    this guy created a whole site because of the problem and the iPhones inability to block/stop such behaviour
    http://i-phone-home.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:43PM (#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.

  • No shock (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kennedy (18142) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:43PM (#31440536) Homepage

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

    • Re:No shock (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ircmaxell (1117387) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:13PM (#31441006) Homepage
      Very simple. Liability. I would think it would be possible for a lawyer to make the claim that if Apple's product broke causing the loss, AND that Apple actively blocked --potentially-- better products from working, that they then assumed liability for any damage their original product failed to protect. Right now, liability limitations exist because the user has a choice. "We deny all liability, because you read this and still chose to use our product". But with ACTIVELY suppressing competition, aren't they removing that choice, and hence opening themselves up to liability (Since you had no choice in the first place)?

      Note: IANAL
      • I would think it would be possible for a lawyer to make the claim that if Apple's product broke causing the loss, AND that Apple actively blocked --potentially-- better products from working, that they then assumed liability for any damage their original product failed to protect.

        Based on exactly what statutory or case law do you base this assertion on?

      • by DaveGod (703167)

        But with ACTIVELY suppressing competition, aren't they removing that choice, and hence opening themselves up to liability (Since you had no choice in the first place)?

        No, they aren't. You do not assume responsibility for anything just because someone would like you to do something and you choose not to. Apple would have to deliberately or at least constructively assume responsibility for the data. It's plausable a class-action could attempt to claim the product failed to deliver on features the consumer rea

      • by PPH (736903)

        (Since you had no choice in the first place)?

        Android?

    • I thought only hardcore fanboys use MobileMe. Everyone else realized Hundred Bucks per year is a bit steep. Especially with other companies offering similar services for less or free.

    • by vijayiyer (728590)

      Why would they want another app in the background using the phone's resources to duplicate the functionality of MobileMe? Good question.
      It's not like this app would be functional if it only ran in the foreground.
      Yet another guy whining because he has a shitty concept for an app with no user benefit that has been rejected. That there exist other shitty apps on the app store doesn't make his any better or warrant an exception by Apple.

  • Good Mobile Messaging will do what Kaspersky's trying to do - control the handsets on an administrative level. You lose your iPhone? Administrator remotely wipes your unit.

    Mind you, I don't have nor want one of these toys, but it works great across our WinMo and Android fleet...

    • I did not think know you could remotely wipe a Droid. How do you get the finder to say OK when the phone ask to be wiped?
      • by tftp (111690)

        How do you get the finder to say OK when the phone ask to be wiped?

        Create a dialog with two buttons, "YES" and "NO". Wipe the phone regardless of which button is clicked :-)

    • by mjwx (966435)

      Good Mobile Messaging will do what Kaspersky's trying to do - control the handsets on an administrative level.

      And Apple can not allow anyone else to be able to do that. Remember the marketing, it's not "your Iphone" it's "your Apple Iphone", just so you remember who really owns it.

  • by HalAtWork (926717) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:52PM (#31440676)
    "it wants to control everything"

    ...which is one way of preventing malware, it's working pretty well so far for that platform.
    • by srussia (884021)

      "it wants to control everything"

      So does Microsoft...

      ...which is one way of preventing malware, it's working pretty well so far for that platform.

      Mmmkay...

      • by Infonaut (96956)

        So does Microsoft...

        Not really. Microsoft in the early days turned a blind eye to rampant piracy of its software in order to gain marketshare. The entire Microsoft model of creating software than runs on everyone else's hardware is not about control, it's about network effects.

        Microsoft obviously has bullied hardware OEMs and other companies, engaged in FUD, and so on. But from its sloppy user experience to its "slap this OS on any hardware you can" mentality, Microsoft's idea of control is not the same a

    • by prockcore (543967) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:35PM (#31441336)

      .which is one way of preventing malware, it's working pretty well so far for that platform.

      Depends on your definition of malware. Spyware is rife on the app store. Pinch Media's analytics tracking is all over the app store.. more than 30 million downloads contained their tracking software... at least according to Pinch Media itself.

      Here is everything that apps with pinch media analytics are sending to them:

      Your iPhones unique ID, iPhone model and OS version, application info, whether or not the iphone is jailbroken, whether or not the application is pirated, time & date you start and stop the application, your current latitude & longitude, and if facebook is installed on your iphone, your gender and birthday.

    • Another would be to allow no software at all to run at all on the device. 100% security from malware. Of course functionality may suffer some...
  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @12:54PM (#31440716) Journal

    I don't want to say Apple's is the wrong way of behaving

    Well, I do. It’s the wrong way of behaving.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      When ever my daughter acts like an apple, I tell her, "You're behaving the wrong way! And I'm am NOT Newton!"
    • I'd like to add that Kaspersky's worthless method of validating their desktop PC client's anti-virus subscription's expiry date is "the wrong way of behaving" too!
      We have their corporate AV product where I work, and every few weeks, I get a phone call from at least someone who says their anti-virus stopped updating, and keeps popping up a warning about "black.lst" being missing or corrupt. I wind up forcing a manual refresh from the server console and eventually, it realizes it IS still a legally licensed

  • I'm not familiar with mac development, but the "SDK" in question would basically be kernel internal functions docs/unreleased API docs, yes? There may be other reasons besides appstore control freakery that they don't want to release and/or license that out? And even if Kaspersky would reverse-engineer the necessary parts of the kernel, which they obviously could (and their employees probably already partially have, unofficially) they would be sued to hell and back if they used that data in a product (which
  • It is almost zero until they enable tethering.

    Oh wait, that won't happen either.

    *returns ipad
  • Just say "no". (Score:5, Insightful)

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

    • False positives suck. Antivirus software is also virtually useless for all but the very oldest viruses. I went through a long process of reporting a virus going to my customers several times per minute. It took 6 months to get the big three I wanted to list the virus to actually list it. 6 months.

      This whole signature based BS has got to stop. Frequent false positives (and they happen all the time) aren't even the worst thing about this "technology."

  • My guess it's the simple fact that one program still can't really interact with another program's data.

    The likelihood of Apple ever really changing this is probably next to zero, and it's the main reason I have no interest in the iPhone. What use is a computer in my pocket when I either need to use one program that is complex enough to handle every task I could possible need, or I need to make my tasks so simple that no data need ever be shared between two tools?
  • butthurt (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stokessd (89903) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:24PM (#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 DdJ (10790) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:28PM (#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 fermion (181285)
      On the PC virus scanning software has become a primary problem. It is a problem that PC users must tolerate because of the virus problem on PC. An PC with virus scanning software is only slightly more usable than an infected PC. This is why few people have such software on the Mac, even though there is an equally serious threat.

      Spyware and port monitoring software is something different. Programs like Spybot and the like can be implemented without seriously degrading the user experience. My question i

  • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @01:29PM (#31441232)
    The iPhone3GS already has built in hardware level encryption of the entire storage device. It also has BSD jails for apps to run inside of and there is the Appstore approval process.

    This "software" could not be ordinary software but would rather require Apple opening up the OS to third party extensions which ran at a privileged level above the sandboxes. I just don't see that every happening for a couple of reasons.

    1. The Kaspersky software itself could have exploitable flaws and given that it would be running at a higher privilege level than regular apps, that opens up a new attack vector for web based exploits to use.

    2. Such software would potentially slow the OS down and cause a significant battery drain for no real gain of protection.

    Much has been made about FUD articles that say that other apps can access contacts without asking for permission. No shit sherlock. That is a "feature" of the official API and the app approval process is supposed to ferret out nefarious uses of contact lists. I would hate to see UAC style boxes for apps each time I wanted to see a contact list in a third party app.

  • '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.'"

    - look who is talking. A guy, whose entire success (his and the wife's) is based on pretty much a monopoly set up in Russia and the rest of the former Soviet block by Microsoft.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday March 11, 2010 @02:41PM (#31442482)
    Apple is probably waiting until they implement multitasking in the next OS [slashdot.org], so that they can have Kaspersky's software constantly running in the background constantly using 50% of the CPU to block malware.
    • Apple is probably waiting until they implement multitasking in the next OS [slashdot.org], so that they can have Kaspersky's software constantly running in the background constantly using 50% of the CPU to block malware.

      No, see this AC's post for why it will never happen:

      http://apple.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1579552&cid=31446920 [slashdot.org]

      Opening things up for Kaspersky would cause a need for their software but the current state of lock down means that there is no need for their software on the iPhone platform. I don't want to see kernel level access for third party developers on the iPhone ever.

  • Kaspersky ascribes it to Apple wanting to "control everything", but Apple already doesn't mind turning over control of about 100,000 apps to other developers already.

    I think it's something else. Well, two things, actually:

    First, I think that Apple wants to keep the word "virus" and the word "iPhone" from being any more linked in the consumer's mind than they have to be. If a range of anti-virus tools becomes available for the iPhone, then it implicitly says that viruses are something you need to be co
  • I don't want rubbish anti-virus software on a smartphone. They cripple the performance of the device.

    I don't care if I get a virus on my phone, I can restore it back to a backup easily. It's not like I'm going to loose valuable work.

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