Gartner suggests banning Apple iPod from corporate networks

“Companies should consider banning portable storage devices such as Apple’s iPod from corporate networks as they can be used to introduce malware or steal corporate data, according to an analyst. Small portable storage products can bypass perimeter defences like firewalls and antivirus at the mailserver, and introduce malware such as Trojans or viruses onto company networks, claimed analyst Gartner in a report issued this week. Analysts have warned for some time of the dangers of using portable devices, but the report points out these also now include ‘disk-based MP3 players, such as Apple’s iPod, and digital cameras with smart media cards, memory sticks, compact flash and other memory media,'” Andrew Donoghue reports for ZDNet UK.

“Another potential danger is that the devices


  1. No shit! Any IT group worth anything already tries to control this. What are they going to do, have a police force going from cube to cube raiding the secretary pool, snatching iPods? Maybe that guy with a portable hard drive that uses it to store the massive work he does should be brought up on treason charges.

    Corporate America (and elsewhere for that matter) is just too caught up in thinking they are some sovereign power that needs military-style powers in order to function (rather than just having smart people with integrity, which the company should foster). It’s the egos of these brain-dead executives that leads to such trash.

    iPod-on brothers and sisters!!!!

  2. This is nothing new. I am tired of all these analysts getting concerned over issues that should of been considered a few years ago when the options became available. They keep reporting things that I am already aware of and am sure others are as well. Invoking more fear of the illusive hacker/pissed off employee with a shady history. Time to realize nobody cares, and those who do have already dealt with the problem.

  3. Do those geniuses at Gartner realize that people like me might need to take work home? My work doesn’t fit on a floppy.

    Where do they get these ideas?

  4. Oh yeah, also the greatest danger to corporate security is the rogue employee. Is Gartner going to recommend to companies that they ban their workers from remembering anything?

  5. They have a point: it’s time to ban all sorts of criminal behaviour — I know… pass a law outlawing stealing! Huh? We have one already?

    Next on their scope: iDisk.

  6. I would like to point out that it has always been possible to steal corporate information, any information, or install virusses. Or whatever.

    People used floppy disks for that purpose.

    So what’s new? Is Gartner trying to impress?


  7. easy way to solve probelm. Use only thin clients, possible with cd-rom only. Don’t even give your employees a chance with local disk access. Then everything can be monitored and controlled.

    What Windows doesn’t do thin clients well, That’s what Unix is for.

    Absolutely need a Mac? Well OS X is based off of BSD, so we can remote mount home directory. Tis also possible that you can remote mount the application directory as well(haven’t tried it but it should be possible). NO cd-R’s, turn off USB & firewire ports in the software(disable the drivers).

    Simple precations for the paranoid.

  8. In my company we use flash media usb keydrives to store our presentations between locations as thw hole company uses the same machines configured the same wherever you are – so we transport presentations and just plug the usb into the back of the laptop currently in the meeting room.

    What these guys suggest is total madness!

    They need to concentrate on banning windows pcs on networks – that is where all the security and virus problems are!

    There is no electronic file that any of our employees could carry arround that is so confidential that it would destroy or compromise the company (e.g. legal documents etc) as these only tend to be paper based anyway!

    THis is just bollocks – if they are so worried about this why don’t they ban laptops then?? As laptops are basically the large external hard drive!!

  9. This is great news ban the iPod in the real IT world (as sputnik would say).

    What will be next is the M$ solution…

    where their portable player will be controlled by their software
    and the ability to move files to and from the device will be restricted by their OS/IT rules.

    And the iPod is dead…
    Another successful M$ monopoly operation…


  10. It seems that gartner, notoriously biased towards Microsoft, missed their own point. Firstly, it is not an iPod problem. You could even stretch that to say “removable media problem” but that misses the point as well.

    The real crux of the problem is the insecurity of the Microsoft systems that are prevalent throughout business networks. As many already have pointed out, there is a need for removable media, therefore that is not the problem, whether it is an iPod, USB drive, CD, DVD, or Floppy. The problem is that something that is needed is not properly handled by the vulnerable OS, namely Windows.

    Not that we should expect Gartner to say that. But it does seem a little odd that they are now saying this since this problem has been around since the earliest computers. Perhaps they felt compelled to attack the iPod.

  11. No way… you can burn worms and viruses on CD-ROM and spread them. Don’t give them any access whatsoever.

    I just had an epiphany. Ban computers out of the workplace. There is no way viruses can spread. Back to pencil and paper, everyone.
    But employees can bring papers home, you say. Simple: body cavity search for employees coming in and going out. Install metal detectors.
    But employees can remember company secrets, you argue. Again, it’s not hard to solve the problem: drug them or whack them in the head when they go home.

    Or they can just treat their employees like human being and appreciate them. Then count on employees’ loyalty that stems from it. Nahh… too much work.

  12. Another won’t work story, a flash drive is so small nobody can see that. They have one in a watch now.

    What companies should do is remove/lock the USB and firewire ports or install recording software to log when a connection is made. This way one can catch the malcontent.

    Banning iPods is just spreading corporate FUD, tons of people commute with their iPods to listen to a audiobook or mellow out before listening to the bosses ranting.

    This is a M$ stoggie corporate writer kissing ass and writing FUD.

    Corporations don’t like their employee’s happy, they like them to suffer, to conform. Apple provides freedom and joy, expresses creativity.

    Corporations are scared, but then they are outsourcing all out jobs to India, so fuck em anyway.

    Lets lynch Billy Goat now!!

  13. A quick (and true) anecdote:

    One day I was at work and found out late in the day that I was going to Dallas the next day because of an emergency with some equipment. If I had had to go home, pick up my PowerBook, and return to work in order to upload it with the software I would need, it would have cost me a lot of time.

    Simple solution, though: I had my iPod with me. Delete a handful of songs, copy the software over, no muss, no fuss. Now these asshats want to end this possibility?? Write your congress… oops, that’s the other article…

  14. An iPod cannot propogate a virus without malicious intent from the person carrying it. A Windows based laptop on the other hand, can quite happily spread malware and worms just by connecting up.

    10 points for anyone spotting the flaw in Gartner’s argument.

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