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Security Firms Can't Protect iPhone From Threats 137

nk497 writes "F-Secure researchers are calling attention to the fact that it's impossible to run third-party anti-virus on iPhones, because the SDK doesn't allow for it. It's a problem, as they claim malware will start to target the phone. 'None of the existing anti-virus vendors can make one, without help from Apple,' chief research officer Mikko Hypponen said. 'Apple hasn't been too interested in developing antivirus solutions for the iPhone, because there are no viruses, which of course, isn't exactly true.' At the moment, the only worms faced by the iPhone have targeted unlocked, jailbroken devices — so Apple's not too bothered protecting users of such phones." While Apple claims that the iPhone's closed nature offers protection to its users, and security vendors maneuver for a piece of a market now closed to them, clearly both sides are pushing their own self-interest.
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Security Firms Can't Protect iPhone From Threats

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  • by Fred_A ( 10934 ) <fred@freds[ ] ['hom' in gap]> on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:49AM (#30244986) Homepage

    And it's from Apple.

    So it's doubly perfect. It's not like Mac OS has any security problems either.

    So nothing to see here.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by sopssa ( 1498795 ) *

      Mac OS X has security problems because it allows running executables and non-signed programs too. iPhone on the other hand doesn't, so trojans and such wont work. The only possible way is to exploit a vulnerability, but that doesn't happen every day and should be pretty quickly patched by Apple (doesn't the phone network push updates automatically?). And if there's a new exploit, antivirus software are just as bad in protecting against it.

      • by v1 ( 525388 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @11:31AM (#30245786) Homepage Journal

        This entire thing is just laughable. "we can't write A/V software for your product because no one can write software for the iphone that is, or that stops, viruses". So, they're asking Apple to create the problem, which they will then be able to sell a fix for.

        Just HOW stupid do they think we all are?

        The only people right now that have any use for antivirus or antimalware software for their iphone are those that have jailbroken them, in which case they could also install and run AV software But there's not a big enough market for that at this point. If they really wanted to write it, they could, right now. There's just not enough profit in it yet.

    • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:57AM (#30245048)

      Anti-virus/anti-malware always seems to be a shitty bandaid to a badly designed system. Even running Windows 7, with UAC on, non-administrative account 99.999% time, always a non-IE browser, and very strict on what I run as .exe and where I download them, ad-aware just found some wind32 trojan.

      Also, people forget this is supposed to be a portable device, even a phone sometimes. Remember what most A/V does to your desktop? I don't run A/V on my notebook, and I actually do want a decent battery life on my phone, as hard as that is to believe.

      However, I know there will be problems with the iPhone. I do wish its safari had the option of "noscript" and stronger adblock plus than its own system among other things. And that when you do use it for the first time, it would have a video on safe usage. You can't upgrade or improve the user, the weakest link, but at least you can try to lead that horse to water that is education.

      • non-administrative account 99.999% time

        always a non-IE browser

        Not sure how important this is with IE8 and Win7-- IEs protected mode vs Chrome's sandbox vs whatever firefox has may be a wash. Chrome and IE may even have a leg up on firefox.

        and very strict on what I run as .exe and where I download just found some wind32 trojan

        If you start downloading unsigned executables from untrusted sources this will always be a risk. You may want to make sure that A) youre not relying on ad-aware as your primary AV (as it isnt an AV! might as well use clamwin if you dont want active scanning) and B) your plugins (im looking at you, adobe reader!) are up to date-- t

        • I deal with malware quite a bit. The most common infection source I have seen lately has been unpatched adobe reader, java, or flash plugins. That and people who click those "Your computer has registry error" banners and install whatever it asks them too. WSUS makes keeping all the systems on a network updated with Windows updates very simple, but unless you have a tightly controlled environment keeping all the plug-ins and such updated automatically is much more difficult. Home users can use the excell

      • You're running V1.0 software. Of course it is going to have holes!

        By god, man, where have you been?! XP was rooted before it was released.

        Come back when SP1 is out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by flanders123 ( 871781 )
      Wake me when a security problem surfaces on a non-jail broken iPhone.

      The mac OS is not as closed as the iPhone, which is why it is more vulnerable.

      ...Still waiting.
      • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )

        PS - as for your other comment, I remember on other stories how people were insisting that Iphones ran OS X... Obviously it does when it's something to brag about, and it doesn't when it's a problem, I guess.

        • AFAIK, the iPhone OS was originally based on Mac OS 10.4. It contained the same basic kernel but a lot of the main OS files were removed because they weren't used. It also, contained iPhone specific code that prevents unsigned code from executing.

          Consequently the iPhone inherits much of the stability and security baked into the desktop OS plus the iPhone specific security features minus those insecurities based on the code from the desktop OS that was axes to make the iPhone OS.
    • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:26AM (#30245212) Homepage Journal

      Look at it the other way: it's perfect, until it's not closed.

      What I mean is that Apple is doing the right thing. They should continue to deny anti-virus vendors from selling their warez, at least until there's a proven threat. And so far, there are none. From Apple's viewpoint, it's a great marketing tool to be so confident in their security that they won't compromise it by letting AV software on the platform. And for everyone who knows just how crappy AV software usually is (and how bad it drags down performance) it really is good news.

      Seriously. As long as Apple keeps patching the holes the jail breakers use (which they seem to do within days) there simply are no credible threats. Oddly enough, this means the jail breakers are actually their best allies, in that they absolutely have the strongest motivations to hack the iPhone; and since their jailbreaks must necessarily be public to be useful, Apple can keep in lockstep with them.

      That also means Apple must continue to keep it tightly closed, and never permit leaky crapware like Flash to run on it. Which indirectly benefits the rest of us, as that means sites that want to play nice with iPhones may provide usable Flash-free alternatives. We can hope, anyway.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by john82 ( 68332 )


      If you don't void the user agreement by jailbreaking your iPhone, you don't have this problem. Apple set up the environment. As it's designed, users are protected. If you choose to negate that design, you may have problems.

      Where is Apple's liability if you don't use it as designed (or as dictated in the UA)?

      • by Plunky ( 929104 )

        If you don't void the user agreement by jailbreaking your iPhone, you don't have this problem. Apple set up the environment. As it's designed, users are protected. If you choose to negate that design, you may have problems.

        Also, if you jailbreak (and thereby opt out of Apples managed environment) - you can run an anti-virus if you want, if you can find it, right?

        • by loutr ( 626763 )
          Yes you could. But right now it would be useless, because so far viruses gain access to the phone through SSH using the default root password, which can be changed using the standard unix program passwd.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SilverJets ( 131916 )

      If Apple opens up the iPhone to allow third-party anti-virus programs to run, guess what will happen? All of a sudden there will be viruses for the iPhone. Gee, I wonder why Apple doesn't want to do that?

      No sympathy from me for people using hacked iPhones and getting trojans since they knew the risks when they hacked it.

      • Maybe the best way to shut the security companies up is to allow McAfee and Symantec to make antivirus software for the iPhone and let their customers see what that software does to iPhone performance. You know, let the customers decide between (being protected from possible viruses) and (being able to run any other app besides the antivirus)...
        • by jimfrost ( 58153 ) *
          Oh, I dunno, that hasn't stopped people from buying them for Windows. Macafee halves performance on my WinXP PC at work; we have to turn it off on build directories.

          I realize that this is near-mandatory pain on Windows, alas, but there will have to be pretty significant threats before I would consider running such a thing on my phone.

    • You forgot the Jedi hand-wave.
      If you'd remembered, we wouldn't have had the replies below.
  • At the moment, the only worms faced by the iPhone have targeted unlocked, jailbroken devices — so Apple's not too bothered protecting users of such phones.

    Of course, it's just better for Apple if the viruses do go around in jailbroken devices.

    And how would iphone support antivirus anyway? It can only run one program at a time.

    • Cue someone suggesting that because of that limitation running the antivirus would thus stop the virus from running.

    • by Fred_A ( 10934 )

      And how would iphone support antivirus anyway? It can only run one program at a time.

      Apparently it can only present one UI, but can presumably run several things. Hence the required help from Apple that the security firms asked for.
      And if there are farting apps, there's no reason why there shouldn't be an icondom (or whatever).

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrMr ( 219533 )
      Don't you get it: Running the antivirus software keeps all other programs including the malware from running.
      Sure sounds familiar...
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Duradin ( 1261418 )

      Only third party apps are barred from running in the background.

      Apple apps can and do run in the background which is why any AV company would have to work with Apple.

  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @09:53AM (#30245012) Homepage Journal

    From the summary, F-Secure: "'Apple hasn't been too interested in developing antivirus solutions for the iPhone, because there are no viruses, which of course, isn't exactly true.' .

    No, indeed, only jailbroken phones were infected. Thus the obvious solution for F-Secure would be to bring out an app in Cydia or other app stores for jailbroken devices.

    Of course, rather than do something, their execs prefer to spend their time whining.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sopssa ( 1498795 ) *

      Yep, if they are worried, just push it out to Cydia. Of course most (before someone comes whining, I did not say all!) of the users with jailbroken phones use pirated software, so there's no money in that.

      • by loutr ( 626763 )

        I buy software from Cydia you insensitive clod !

        But I wouldn't buy an AV, I already have one. It's called passwd.

      • Apart from the fact that it's a very unstable environment to develop in, both in a end-user as technical way.

        *If* a company like AV would choose to sell a app purely targeted at jailbroken phones and distribute that app via other sources than the Apple Appstore.

        Would apple have any legal ground to stop that distribution?

      • Yep, if they are worried, just push it out to Cydia. Of course most (before someone comes whining, I did not say all!) of the users with jailbroken phones use pirated software, so there's no money in that.

        Citation needed. Because that's some serious bull you're peddling there and certainly not borne out by my experience.

    • If it's like desktop anti-virus, it will have its own vulnerabilities, take up more resources than I'd like, cause buggy behaviour or incompatibilities with other apps, and feed me false positives too often.

      I don't need that on my phone. Since the only real malware we've seen for the iphone involves jailbreaking and then not properly managing your phone, I can do without.

      • Exactly, and that's why F-Secure says "well the iPhone is not exactly invulnerable" but then forgets to put their software on Cydia.

    • by purpledinoz ( 573045 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:02AM (#30245074)
      I can imagine what Norton Antivirus will look like on the iPhone. First, everything would run slower, battery life would be cut in half, and a huge yellow annoying banner would attach itself to the browser reminding you that you are "PROTECTED BY NORTON ANTIVIRUS".
    • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:15AM (#30245138)

      What I think is most telling about that quote is how an AV company has blurred the distinction between a "virus" and what basically amounts to a default password security hole. Sorry, but how does that make me want to trust you to run software on my device if you don't care to demonstrate you know the difference between these two types of attack?

      The only reason why the jailbroken phones were vulnerable was because the default SSH password was not changed. No amount of AV is going to protect against a user's stupidity. This statement by F-Secure is about the money-making opportunity they're dying to exploit, and they're clearly riding the wave of negative publicity surrounding the closed platform nature of the iPhone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        No amount of AV is going to protect against a user's stupidity.

        And no amount of AV is going to protect against vendor/distributor stupidity either. Here we have a program, running on a non-firewalled device, which on install, instead of being non-functional, opens up to the whole world with a default password. This is not the 1990's people! In this day and age, I expect a program to be secure by default... whatever it takes, even if it means it is non-functional at install.

        I actually have a jailbroken

        • You could have installed MobileTerminal and changed the password locally on the device.

          • Yes I could have. I however didn't do this. I assumed that after installing secure shell, my iPhone would not have a backdoor. Dumb user I am.

            (Hey, this is kind of fun, having the same discussion twice: once full, once abbreviated)

            • I'll break the abbreviation and throw in a new argument: if you're smart enough to get that SSH == Secure SHell and you know what a shell is, then you ought to be smart enough to change your password. If you're the kind of user that installs anything that sounds cool even though though you don't really know what it does, then you should work on fixing that ;)

    • by marcansoft ( 727665 ) <(hector) (at) (> on Friday November 27, 2009 @11:11AM (#30245560) Homepage

      I love how everyone pretends that recent trojan targeted "jailbroken" iPhones.

      It didn't. It targeted stupid users who happened to have a jailbroken iPhone. Specifically, it targeted users who install OpenSSH without changing the default password (ignoring warnings to the effect). There's no vulnerability here, and a stock jailbroken iPhone is not vulnerable. The same exact kind of malware can affect every poorly configured UNIX system out there - for example, that router-based botnet that infected routers with default SSH passwords running Linux. There are tons of Linux rootkits out there too, and servers with poor passwords are rooted all the time. Does that mean we urgently need craptacular AV software on all Linux boxes?

      On the other hand, it is true that a non-jailbroken iPhone has an extra layer of protection in the form of compulsive executable signing. Apple ostensibly has superior security (in non-jailbroken devices), but that's just because they lock down the device tight. It's "good" old Trusted Computing, the kind that does not trust the user. By jailbreaking the device, you're freeing yourself from nanny Apple's oversight. If it turns out you were better off with it, well, that's your own fault.

      • It's "good" old Trusted Computing, the kind that does not trust the user.

        And judging by the latest iPhone trojan, which only works if a user is dumb enough to jailbreak their phone then leave the default ssh password (which is "alpine", btw) in place, it would appear that Apple is right not to trust them.

      • SSH should not install insecurely. Even in the time to log in and change the password, your device could be compromised. Instead of blaming the user (under which is the guy that installed ssh and never looked at it again), blame the distributor. He shipped a product that's insecure on install, and needs to be hardened by hand. That's stupid.
        • You can install MobileTerminal and change the password before enabling OpenSSH, which isn't rocket science. OpenSSH need not be enabled with an insecure password for any amount of time.

          Anyway, this is a nontrivial issue to solve. There could be a GUI-based password change request, but that doesn't hook very well into the apt-based installer. OpenSSH could enable pubkey authentication by default, but that's incredibly inconvenient to get your public key into in the first place. A better solution might be to

          • I'm not surprised there is a way to avoid being insecure, but that's beside the point. What I did, dumb user that I am, is what I would do on my own machine. I see the package 'openssh', I install it, and expect to be good to go from there. I did not expect to be vulnerable, even for a microsecond. No program should install a backdoor on any system, and this is what openssh on the iPhone did by default!

            Then to think that this is on the iPhone platform, where people are expecting to just download an app an

            • No program should install a backdoor on any system, and this is what openssh on the iPhone did by default!

              But it doesn't. It does exactly the same thing installing OpenSSH on any other non-iPhone system does. The only difference is that on other systems you typically have set the passwords yourself, while on the iPhone Apple (not the jailbreak) set them for you.

              Then to think that this is on the iPhone platform, where people are expecting to just download an app and look at it maybe later, this is a nightmar

            • by Wovel ( 964431 )

              Except of course this is not an iPhone nightmare, it is a Jailbroken iPhone nightmare. You should not have taken the extraordinary steps to jailbreak your iPhone if you have absolutely no idea what you are doing. Nothing anyone has bought from the app store has installed a vulnerability (yet anyway).

              Once you decided to jailbreak your iPhone, you forfeited your right to complain.

    • Oh my God! My PS3, 360 and Wii are on the internet and they don't have anti-virus, too! What are we going to do!

      Seriously, this is news for nerds? Some morons jailbreak their phones, leaving SSH with a default password, they get hacked, and suddenly A/V firms think they have an "in"? You could install every A/V program on the planet on a windows PC, but if you install SSH with a default password, it will still get hacked.
    • But if Apple allows it then they can sell anti-virus to people who don't need it. For instance, most iPhone users. That's what they really want.

  • ...all you have to do is to give me some money every week...If I were you, I'd think about what can happen to that pretty phone if it wouldn't be protected...
  • by bogaboga ( 793279 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:01AM (#30245068)

    ...and here it is:

    Some fella develops and distributes some serious virus that "shuts down" a big number of iPhones...

    This generates [bad] publicity for the device...

    The media pick the story up...(in the meantime, it's "damage control" for Apple)...

    Android is touted as the best alternative...

    Motorola and Co. jump on the bandwagon...

    What next? profits, numbers and market share for the Droid.

    Question is: Am I wrong?

    • by nneonneo ( 911150 ) <> on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:30AM (#30245246) Homepage

      Except that this scenario is next-to-impossible on stock iPhones, because of the aforementioned code-signing restrictions, sandboxed applications and other mechanisms which prevent this from being a general problem.

      Jailbreaking your phone makes all these safety nets go away: the kernel is patched so that it will run anything and applications are permitted to roam free across all of the device. At that point, you are on your own as far as security goes. If you, as a user, willfully ignore the instructions saying "Use 'passwd' to change the default password!!", then the resulting compromise of your iPhone is *entirely* your fault, and Apple doesn't even have to do "damage control". A rooted Android phone would suffer the same problems.

      • Except that this scenario is next-to-impossible on stock iPhones, because of the aforementioned code-signing restrictions, sandboxed applications and other mechanisms which prevent this from being a general problem.

        Add to that the fact that there are an incredible amount of very smart people actively looking for security flaws in the iphone in order to facilitate jailbreaking and unlocking, holes which are then diligently patched by Apple. The jailbreaking community is actually helping Apple to harden its device.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      The main problems are

      A) No real way to get it to work on non-jailbroken iPhones.

      B) The fact that every iPhone worm worked because of having SSH running with a default password that is basically equivalent to going to Defcon with a laptop with a stickynote saying "Username is user password is alpine" of course things are going to turn out badly. Everyone knows what the default SSH login is on iPhones (alpine) and when there are thousands of them running with the same password why are people surpris
  • FUD (Score:2, Insightful)


    For those new to the internet, that would be Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. This sort of garbage would be a pretty classic example of it.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:04AM (#30245086)

    I tend to be wary when using my crystal ball, but this time I want to make a prediction: This is an intended development, and we'll see more of it in the future. Jailed devices that are deemed intrinsically secure. People who dare to unlock their device not only open themselves up for infections, they also can't get any help to make their devices secure again because everyone who could or would offer them this help is locked out.

    Now add laws that started to creep into our legislative where you're legally responsible for it if your device is insecure and doing something illegal.

    In the long run, you will only be secure and not responsible for anything your device does if you don't mind not owning it.

    • by Locutus ( 9039 )
      one problem with that, do you really know that the anti-virus vendors are blocked from providing anti-virus software for jail broken devices? It looks to me that because their industry was created by having a seriously flawed OS, Microsoft Windows, they think and want other markets and OS vendors to allow them to exist on their platforms. They have no given right to exist outside of the flawed Windows ecosystem no matter how much they whine.

      We are likely to start seeing more and more of this kind of whinin
      • Well, I don't know what the legal situation is for providing software for a product that is allegedly illegal, i.e. av soft for a jailbroken device. Probably the train of thought is that people who break copy restrictions on their device will not bother to buy software but rather just use it "illegally" too. I guess it's not a whine for a lost platform and wanting other platforms to be as flawed and insecure, I think it's more a want of a stable legal situation.

        And, personally, I think a jailed device is no

  • by Negatyfus ( 602326 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:10AM (#30245106) Journal
    Apple isn't too concerned because all Apps run in a sandbox. There would have to be a very glaring hole in iPhoneOS would an attacker be able to take over an iPhone in this way. I remember a vulnerability that allowed exploitation through doctored SMS packets somehow, but I'm not sure how serious it was. At any rate, that's fixed now as far as I remember. Really, this is just about anti-virus companies trying to instill fear in the hearts of ignorant users. iPhone users that have jailbroken their iPhone have made it their own responsibility to look after security and I don't believe for a second that F-Secure is targeting *them* (SDK limitations wouldn't be a roadblock in that case). I see very little opportunity for a hacker to invade an iPhone, and thus it's not a huge priority to install any security software on the iPhone.
  • ... that be used by any tom , dick or harry and screw up or silently alter the functioning of the kernel?

    Oh , shame. I guess they'd better stick to using Windows if that's the sort of enviroment these antivirus writers are happy working in.

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter@slashdot.2 ... m ['6.t' in gap]> on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:14AM (#30245128) Homepage Journal

    This is even more stupid than their attempt to sell antivirus for Palm OS.

    There is no mechanism for transmission between one iPhone and another UNLESS the iPhone is jailbroken.

    So Symantec only needs to write antivirus for jailbroken iPhones. And Apple would have no way to prevent them. So what's their problem?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Locutus ( 9039 )
      wow, they were really trying to sell anti-virus software for the PalmOS devices? There's a saying about having a hammer and everything looks like a nail and these anti-virus people sound like they've got the hammer. Windows was the perfect nail because it constantly needed pounding on to fix this or that flaw or breach. But when new products enter the market without the flawed security system of Windows, what's a lonely Windows security company to do? Make stuff up I guess.

    • Antivirus for Palm? Wow, I thought it was secure without it since people stopped using it about 10 years ago..... (mostly joking :D)
  • News at 11 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damaki ( 997243 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:24AM (#30245194)
    F-Secure cannot get money out of iPhone users, therefore whines and tries to scare executives.
  • by SwashbucklingCowboy ( 727629 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:39AM (#30245300)

    "While Apple claims that the iPhone's closed nature offers protection to its users"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by sznupi ( 719324 )

      It's NOT obscurity in this case! "Closed" here describes sandboxing/etc. mechanisms, which might just as well be OSS (AppArmour, SELinux)

    • by neoform ( 551705 )
      They weren't talking about their source code being closed, they were walking about the way apps are loaded onto the iphone. There's no way a regular user can install a virus on their phone since all the installable apps are screened by Apple.
  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:44AM (#30245348)
    I am being quite serious here. Mobile devices need good battery life, and there is a limit to what can be done with batteries and screens. If you need an anti-virus program, you are using more power and the battery life is shorter: end of story. Forget whether Apple is Gandalf or Sauron, their attitude is 100% correct.

    Going further, I have absolutely no patience with people who hack iPhones. A phone is an appliance connected to a public asset - EM bandwidth. People using public assets have a duty of care, and it's the failure of duty of care (tragedy of the Commons) that has done a lot of damage to society.

    What I do on my own local network is my affair, but I think increasingly we should have a reasonable expectation that anything connected to a public network is properly secured and maintained, just like (in the UK at least) we test cars annually to check they are safe on the road. I'm afraid that the Wild West days of the Internet are increasingly over - and the excesses of some people is bringing down an overreaction.

    Over the next 20 years we have to find a way to put the genie back in the bottle without killing the genie or spoiling the bottle. The politicians will try to screw this up. But the rest of us need to realise that we need to grow up too - we need to understand that if we want a reliable public internet and mobile phone system, we need to stop treating people who act irresponsibly as if their behaviour was acceptable or clever. Otherwise anti-virus and anti-malware software will continue to eat up too many of our CPU cycles, shorten the lives of our hard drives, and cause increasing frustration to those of us who actually need to earn a living, and have to use the Internet and the phone system to do it.

    • Jailbreaking is NOT acting irresponsibly - writing viruses / malware is. I say mandatory 20 year sentences for anyone who writes a virus / malware and while they are in prison they aren't allowed anywhere near a computer or near books on computers. That way by the time they get out, virtually everything they knew about computers will be so outdated that they'll have a damn hard time trying to catch up. Also, they should openly tie them up in the prison yard for Bubba and Co to rape the shit out of. Mayb
  • by denebeim ( 674459 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @10:45AM (#30245358)

    I thought it was running some form of Unix/Linux sort of OS.

    I realize these modern day snake oil salesmen have convinced corporate America that their product is effective against all viruses on all platforms. However if you look at the definition file that they install on all the systems you'll see that the signatures list which platform they're for. I was curious so I greped the file. Turns out that while there's hundreds of thousands of windows definitions in the file there's only tens for linux and fewer for sun.

    When pressed on this they'll tell you that they look for all those viruses so they arn't passed by the ftp/http/mail server on the unix box. While there's some merit to this position I don't see how it's at all relevant to the iPhone.

    • MacOSX (and by extension the iphone OS) is based on FreeBSD. It's more or less a Mach version of the FreeBSD kernel, the closest comparison I can think of is mkLinux, except using the FreeBSD kernel instead. But your other points stand. The only reason to have "antivirus" running on any sort of *nix machine is to protect Windows machines by blocking Windows viruses at points like Samba and on email servers.
  • "Whaaaaaa!" (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ( 745855 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @11:01AM (#30245486) Homepage

    That's all I hear.

  • Unlock != Jailbreak (Score:4, Informative)

    by netsharc ( 195805 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @11:24AM (#30245700)

    BTW, if the original "anti-virus expert" really put unlock and jailbreak as the same thing, he needs to learn more about iPhones.

    Jailbreak is breaking out of the chroot jail. It gives you root access so you can do wonderful things like install an SSH-daemon (which, unfortunately uses a standard password which the worms out there are exploiting now), as well as install apps that you want instead of only those that's passed Apple's draconian approval service.

    Unlocking is SIM-unlocking, its purpose is so that an unauthorized SIM card (in the US that means non-AT&T) works on the iPhone. If you're using an AT&T card, you don't need to unlock, but you can still jailbreak. You need to run a software not authorized by Apple to do the unlock, so to unlock you *need* to jailbreak.

    As for F-Secure, eh, fuck 'em. Their threat of Symbian viruses is also snake oil, it requires the most idiotic of idiots to see "Hmm someone wants to send me something over BlueTooth. OK I'll accept. Transfer finished. Let's open it. Oh it wants to install an app, should I install or should I deny?" and F-Secure sells you unproven protection if you say "install". Goddamnit, if you are so goddamned dumb, you deserve to get swindled by this company.

  • "F-Secure researchers are calling attention to the fact that it's impossible to run third-party anti-virus on iPhones, because the SDK doesn't allow for it. It's a problem, as they claim malware will start to target the phone"

    Why not use the same method the mawlare writers use. Oh, wait, it isn't possible unless the user explididly jailbreaks the device and uses the default password in SSH ..

  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Friday November 27, 2009 @12:32PM (#30246344)
    The reason why hacking the phone is called a jailbreak is because it essentially breaks the security sandbox mechanism called a BSD jail. All apps on the iPhone run inside of these sandboxes which prevent access to other sandboxes where other apps are running. On a non-jailbroken phone, all apps also have to be signed and installed via iTunes so it is basically impossible barring someone at Apple not screening the app first for malware to get onto the device.

    In the early days, there were some remote exploits that you could use to jailbreak a device but those remote exploits have now been fixed soon after the jailbreaking community discovered the holes and published their software.

    The official firmware from Apple is essentially hardened now against any remote attacks or malware attempting to run so there is no market for anti-virus on the iPhone.

  • users long for McAfee32.exe eating up 10-15% of CPU time, while intercepting network traffic and checking your mails. Clearly.

  • If my phone got exploited I'd just restore from my latest backup, it might take all of twenty minutes.

  • I've had two iPhones, both of which were jailbroken within about 30 seconds of activation through iTunes. Why? Because... If I buy a computer from Dell, HP, Apple, etc I'm free to do as a please, install software as needed, patch stuff that needs patching, etc... When I buy a $700 iPhone(Not on contract, full price) I am essentially buying a tiny ass computer with all the capabilities of my desktop and laptops, just palm sized. So Why shouldn't I be able to develop for it and modify it as I see necessary? I
    • Jailbreaking destroys the very security model which prevents malware from spreading. You seem to be ignorant of why the BSD jails exist in the first place.

      iLocalis is a clone of "Find My iPhone", a feature of the 3.x firmware.

      Winterboard is customizable but it is also slow and unstable.

      OpenSSH Server has no business on a phone. There are several SSH clients in the app store for connecting to other machines for administrative purposes. If you feel the need to have a phone that requires administration,

      • As a linux system administrator I fully understand the purpose of jailing my apps as most of my processes on my linux servers are jailed and in some instances running in a VM inside of the OS.

        Find my phone is a clone of iLocalis, not the other way around since iLocalis has been around since the 2.x days of iPhone. iLocalis provides enhanced features that Find My Phone does not, such as the ability to activate call forwarding, lock out the phone completely, backup the contents of the phone, wipe it out, reco

      • Baloney. I want to use the fact that my phone is in fact a complete UNIX machine. Don't you dare tell me that this is unnecessary and as such must not be done. I love the fact that the iPhone has such a useful and intuitive GUI, but it's missing some stuff. Because it's actually so flexible, despite Apple's intentions, it can in fact do all that. Did you know that you can run a VNC server on the phone itself, so you can control the screen through any VNC client?

        In any case, who do you think you are to be di

        • Sorry, but what part of "destroys the very security mode. that prevents malware from spreading" when you "break" the BSD "jails" is baloney? That is exactly what is happening when you jailbreak an iPhone. It is no longer secure and can be infected by a Trojan hiding on a Cydia repository. There was a version of Customize 1.3 back in the 1.3 days which was in fact a Trojan.

          You can jailbreak if you want but you should be aware that your phone is no longer secure once you do that and any personal information

I've got a bad feeling about this.