Apple security faces biggest test in 2015

“In 2015 it’s possible Apple’s biggest technology investments will be things you never see, as this will be the year security becomes the company’s key product,” Jonny Evans writes for Computerworld.

“You see, criminal coders and maverick malware makers now recognize that while Apple’s platforms don’t have the market share, they are still better targets,” Evans writes. “Think about it, Apple’s platforms are where the money is: from access to corporate and enterprise data on iOS to the resurgence of the Mac across every market to the huge and growing success of Apple Pay and iTunes. In comparison, other platforms are where the money isn’t.”

“European hacker group the Chaos Computer Club is in the news today with claims a member has managed to subvert fingerprint authentication systems using photographs of a person’s finger (in this case, German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen). I don’t believe the claims, as I can’t accept that accurate prints were achievable from images captured at a distance and don’t think the claims will stand up to testing. But in a sense it doesn’t matter – that these claims are being made at all represents an intensification of interest in subverting Apple platform security,” Evans writes. “What this all means is that Apple will become even more vigilant when it comes to securing its platforms. This means it will invest in the best people, the latest technologies and will need to examine every claimed security threat.”

Read more in the full article here.

13 Comments

  1. They’ve realized this for some time. Either that or they’ve been ignoring trends spouted by pretty much everyone in tech for the last several years…

    And the point behind the story? Someone has said that they can copy your fingerprint and use it to… Umm what exactly? Oh if they have access to your phone they could unlock it! Well, if they had physical access to your phone, there are far easier, quicker and more foolproof methods to get at the data they’re looking for. 😉

    Guess Apple’s focus on security will include just letting people BUY phones, but not take them home. You go to an Apple vault to use them so that no one ever has access to your phone but you and Apple?

  2. I guess Apple will have to move from “security through obscurity” to “it’s so overt it’s covert”

    “You see, criminal coders and maverick malware makers now recognize that while Apple’s platforms don’t have the market share, they are still better targets – and the hackers at Europe’s Chaos Computer Club suggest Apple is under attack.”

    Richer targets maybe, but better targets? I don’t think so. I always like the analogy of the two major operating systems being compared to cars in a parking lot. The Microsoft car has the windows rolled down and the doors unlocked with a big sign “Don’t steal me” written on it. The Apple car has the windows rolled up and the doors locked. The Microsoft car may be only worth $69.95 and contains a contain a car stereo worth about as much but it is a better target when it comes to ease of access. Nuff said.

    The other matter: “In this brave new world of Orwellian state surveillance, government agencies unable to use legal process to force Apple to open the TouchID door will also want to break through it.”

    Yes, there are some governments that have quite the fetish for wanting to break things, like the human spirit, world peace, stability and security. Fortunately there are civilized organizations on the planet that will keep these minor annoyances in check.

    1. Yep. Government does not like personal security that they can’t get around.
      Can’t have the people getting together secretly to bitch about the Orwellian government.

  3. Seems to me that Apple faced bigger security challenges in the formative years of building the OS X and iOS ecosystems. Apple now has tens of millions of users online, computing safely, in custom systems which Apple has built from the ground up for security, with many years of real world testing validating their security models.

    Sure, Apple will have to keep improving and updating their security to stay ahead of hackers, Orwellian nation states, new security threats, and whatnot – but that all seems relatively easy compared to everything Apple has already accomplished in the way of digital security.

    Digital security is going major problem in 2015 for just about every person and every OTHER major company – but for Apple, digital security is a major selling point.

    1. If you’re eluding to ‘Security Through Obscurity’, that old yarn died the death many times. I personally pummeled it into the ground years back, simply by examining the number of malware per computer user for both Mac and Windows machines. The result is intensely shocking and points directly to Microsoft as lazy if not incompetent at security, even today.

      No, I won’t go through the calculations for the 20th time. Figure it out yourself.

  4. Clunkity clunk article. Some of what Jonny Evans is stating is rubbish.
    – He is NOT accurately representing what CHAOS Computer Club has not twice accomplished, which is something my granny could do. Ripping off fingerprints is NOT exactly hard. (No I won’t get into an argument about it so save your typing).
    – His justifications for why Apple gear “are still better targets” go WAY off base into faerie land.

    As for Apple becoming more security vigilant, that process has been obviously going on since 2007, the year Apple was relentlessly shamed into taking OS X security seriously. Every iteration of OS X since that time has had better security, as has iOS. Meanwhile, Apple has already been hiring top gun security folks to revamp and improve Apple security. That progress continues. There is NOTHING special about 2015 to accelerate that process.

    Kind of a strange article.

  5. “Apple, look out!!” We have been hearing this crap for years. Hackers are just like any other criminal. They look for easy targets. They bypass the house with all the alarm systems, big dogs and cameras to hit the house with nothing. It has nothing to do with marketshare and everything to do with how hard it is to get into one OS vs another.

  6. Just out of curiosity, I have handed my 5S to several people and asked them to try their fingerprint in order to unlock it. I work in a high school and because these students have been told they are the “smartest generation in history” they all believed that if their fingerprint would unlock my phone, or if not, they,being “expert hackers” could find a way in.

    Of course, it didn’t work.

    Now, if you read my posts to MacDaily, you know I am actually not a big fan of iOS, (dont worry, Android is far worse). And OSX is far better than Windows, so dont go there. Apple, since Steve Jobs died, has lost quality in many ways because I think they are trying to rush operating systems to market too soon.

    But, so far, I am not at this point worried about security. The only worry I really have as of now is that we do have to trust Apple that they really are trying to protects us from governments etc. So far, so good, I think.

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