Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hackers love the iPhone

Mobile devices have always been often considered as more safe. Desktop and laptops, the reasoning goes, are way more susceptible to hackers and cyber criminals. That’s true to a certain extent. But hackers are clever enough these days to compromise tablets and smartphones, too. And there’s one particular mobile device that gets compromised a lot more often than any other. According to a recent story by Business Insider, it’s the iPhone which is the most hackable mobile device.

The most hacked

Business Insider reported on the latest statistics from Web security company SourceFire, which released the report "25 Years of Vulnerabilities." This report charted the Critical Vulnerabilities and Exposures -- also known as CVE -- of a host of software and mobile devices. The CVE is the standard that security companies use when charting cyber-exploits. SourceFire found that 210 CVE reports had been filed on the iPhone. For comparison's sake, Android only had 24 CVE reports.

Reasons

What are the reasons for this? Why have hackers had such a field day with the iPhone while pretty much ignoring other mobile devices? There isn't any simple answer to this. But Business Insider wonders whether the iPhone might be targeted more often simply because of its popularity. All things considered, the device still maintains popular status in the tech world, and customers still flock to purchase each new version of this device. Having said that, this argument falls apart when examining the growing popularity of Android-powered devices. As per the SourceFire report, the number of CVEs on Android devices actually dropped in 2012 when compared to 2011. And it was just last year when Android’s market share – and the number of Android devices purchased – soared.

Going after the king

A recent interview with the SourceFire report author on the ZDNet Web site proposes another reason for the high number of iPhone hacks: Hacking the iPhone might present a challenge worthy of the most gifted hackers. Consider how Android devices work. They rely on an open platform. This means that developers could easily create malicious third-party apps that users can download themselves onto their phones. That’s not very much of a challenge for hackers. But hacking the iPhone, which does not boast an open platform? That’s a real test of a hacker’s skill.

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