With the increase in popularity of the Apple products, iPhone, MacBook, ipad, etc., hackers are beginning to see the benefits of writing code to breach the Apple products. As of March 2012, USA Today reports that over HALF of Americans own an Apple device. “There are more than 55 million U.S. homes with at least one iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac computer, according to CNBC's All-America Economic survey.” This is according to an article in USA Today written by Jodi Gralnick. According to the same article, Apple feels that market saturation isn’t a concern because most homes that own one Apple device own an average of 3 devices per home. With that many devices, and the numbers continuing to grow viruses and malware are going to be more and more prominent in the Mac and IOS industries.
While it’s safe to say that the likelihood of an Apple device you own getting a virus or malware is high, most people don’t truly understand what a virus or malware is. Malware is defined as “any software used to disrupt computer or mobile operations, gather sensitive information, gain access to private computer systems, or display unwanted advertising (Wikipedia).” This can be defined as pop-ups even. Have you ever had a pop-up on your phone and you wonder where it came from? That’s malware. The example I used above with a technician I was speaking too is a perfect example of Malware. The best prevention you can do for your phone, iPad, or other Apple device is to install an Anti-virus, Anti-malware program.
What is the difference between a malware and a virus then? A virus is defined as a type of malicious software program that, when executed, replicates by reproducing itself (copying its own source code) by infecting other computer programs by modifying them (Wikipedia). This means it may be a pop-up to you, but in the back end it’s sending an email to all of your contacts spreading the code to other machines. Sometimes these viruses also gather data (personal information, financial information, account passwords, etc.) The first official iPhone worm was actually found WAY back in 2009(Naked Security)! Although it appears it was a simple virus that changed your wallpaper to a photo of Ricky Astley, it was the first step into a continuing problem that PC and Mac users alike will face.
The challenge I see here for you, those that are actually curious enough to read this article, is that while I may be telling you about the viruses and malware out there, Apple has portrayed itself as an invincible force from its humble beginnings with Steve Jobs. It’s hard to change perspective when the company itself doesn’t change perspective. However it’s more true today than even in 2009 that Apple products will be infected with Malware more and more frequently. Before you go, let me provide you with a few articles to support the theory.
The MacWorld Magazine (Yes similar to PCWorld) posted an article in 2015 asking the question, do iPhones get Viruses? In this article Dave Price provides information about the security of an iPhone. He states that while an iPhone is very secure, and typically more secure than an Android device, it isn’t impregnable. In the same article, it begins to explain something that is a more common occurrence today than it was when the article was written. While the IOS software may be secure, the apps you install may not always be. Hackers are finding more and more ways to access data from your downloaded apps rather than breaking into the phone itself. So again, while even back in 2006 and 2012 malware was being written for IOS devices, and while the system itself may be secure, you never know the security of the applications you are downloading and installing.
There are many ways for your business to protect yourself from viruses and malware on your mobile devices. Not only can you download and install anti-virus and anti-malware software, but you can also lock down these devices to certain applications or programs only. With Innovative Technology Solutions’ System Manager, we can assist you in configuring your iPhones, updating them, managing the network use and protecting them from any unwanted harm.
Article written by James Bowers, owner of Innovative Technology Solutions, LLC