Security still a concern for business use of iPhone 2.0, analysts say
While upgrade has data encryption, it can still be exposed if lost or stolen
Computerworld - While Apple's iPhone 2.0 software announcement yesterday includes vastly improved security protections, questions remain over whether it will meet the demands of large corporations, such as banks, that must meet rigid government standards for data protection.
Apple's own description of the 2.0 release, set for June, details the security of using both Microsoft's Exchange ActiveSync for push e-mail and data wipe, as well as a Cisco IPsec VPN for data encryption when linking wirelessly to private corporate networks.
While security experts often note that bulletproof security is never truly bulletproof, data encryption is often regarded as the gold standard in many systems. While the Cisco VPN is going to beef up wireless security for the iPhone, analysts said, it still won't help against physical attacks if the device is lost or stolen, through port access.
"A VPN alone is not a complete security defense for a mobile device," said John Girard, an analyst at Gartner Inc., when asked about the iPhone 2.0 security innovations. "The majority of attacks on small devices are caused by losing control of the device, or attacks oriented on the device itself through other methods, such as reading stored data.
"I still see the biggest security risk to be the reading of information from a lost or stolen device, and at this time and even with the updated features and tools, the iPhone does not include a mechanism for encryption of all stored data," Girard added. "Third-party security tools and secure applications will bring that protection, but it will be months before such tools are delivered."
One IT executive at a major bank said many bank workers want to use the iPhone, but the bank needs more time to evaluate the security innovations in iPhone 2.0 software to see if they will be sufficient to meet internal and government-imposed requirements for data protection. The executive asked not to be named, citing company policy about talking to the press.
One vulnerability outside of the VPN could be because of ports exposed on the device that could be accessed even while the VPN is running, Girard said. Executives at Bluefire Security Technologies in Baltimore demonstrated such a potential vulnerability at a conference earlier this week, showing how a small data card installed surreptitiously on a person's phone could be encoded to send data from the phone wirelessly to a third party for sniffing.
Girard's concerns were mirrored by Ken Dulaney, another Gartner analyst. Both men also questioned whether the Cisco VPN client will work with other platforms, such as those from Nortel Networks or Check Point. "You could have interoperability issues," Girard said.
In an e-mail today, Cisco's Tom Russell, senior director of product management for security, conceded that the Cisco VPN client in the iPhone will use Cisco protocols that connect to a Cisco device in a headquarters location, adding that "creating policies outside of established methods creates risk." Still, he said using the Cisco VPN client within the iPhone "reduces risk and does enable the iPhone as an enterprise device."
Cisco's VPN client provides "the highest level of data privacy with the most widely deployed, enterprise-class remote access VPN solution in the market," Russell added.
Read more about Mobile/Wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Separating Work and Personal at the Platform Level: How BlackBerry Balance Works BlackBerry® Balance™ separates work from personal on the same mobile device, right at a platform level. Find out how it can work for...
- Protection for Every Enterprise: How BlackBerry Security Works Get an IT-level review of BlackBerry® Security, addressing data leakage protection, certified encryption, containerization and much more.
- Future Focus: What's Coming in Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) Find out why Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions that are truly future-ready must be designed to enable Machine-to-Machine (M2M) capabilities and much more.
- Live Webcast On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy...
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Workforce Mobilization for Improved Productivity A mobility research director from Aberdeen discusses reasons for extending legacy applications to mobile devices, and an integration strategist from Attachmate shows how...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the...
- Containerization Options: How to Choose the Best DLP Solution for Your Organization This webcast outlines a framework for making the right choice when it comes to containerization approaches, along with the pros and cons of... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts