Apple devices such as the iPad 2, original iPad, or iPhone are not vulnerable to traditional information security threats such as viruses and other web based malware. This statement is untrue wishful thinking and is a dangerous message that is being communicated by many forum “experts” who think just because it is not happening now it will not in the very near future.
Apple products are at the top end of the usability scale but are vulnerable to the same information security threats as any other devices. In the past Apple devices were not often targeted because the user footprint was small and not the high value targets that hackers seek. The times have changed and now Apple has the highest market cap of all technology stocks and everyone from CEOs to soccer moms are seen sporting iPads and iPhones. Apple devices are now among the hottest targets for hackers and financial criminals who seek to compromise your information and cause other all other sorts of information headaches. Click here if you are here to learn about physical security products for your iPad/iPad 2 (cases/locks/mounts/etc) to prevent theft otherwise read on for our top itunes security application recommendations.
Do you need more security protection for your iPad(1/2) or iPhone?
- Are you a business user? – These devices could end up being a pathway into the corporate network and require the same type of endpoint protection as any other device
- Do you perform online banking or manage other sensitive financial accounts with an apple device? Online banking increases your potential for financial loss if your credentials are compromised so additional controls are recommended.
- Do you frequently web surf to many sites of unknown quality?
- Do you have kids and desire advanced security or child protection features?
- Have you opened up your device otherwise known as “jailbreaking”?
Here is a rundown of the top security applications/utilities available in the iTunes store to protect you iPad2, iPad, or iPhone.
Mobility Management/Device Locators – Tools that help identify a lost device or simplify the management/cleanup process to minimize the risk when a device is lost or stolen.
Find My iPhone – Apple’s free app is a must use security device to help locate or remotely wipe your device should it become lost or stolen. iOS 4.2 is required to take advantage of this functionality.
McAfee Enterprise Mobility Management (MEMM) – Tool to allow company’s to administer iPhones and iPads in an efficient and more secure manner. This is done through registering of devices and allowing rapid configuration to an allowed email/VPN system. Features Active Directory compatibility for enterprises that use that functionality. MEMM is listed as a free app in the iTunes store. Compatible with: iPhone 4, iPad, iPad2, 4th generation iPod touch
Anti Virus & Web Surfing Security Apps – Tools that provide additional security from viruses and other web based malware.
McAfee Family Protection – Designed for parents to allow their children to safely browse the Internet and avoid inappropriate content. Allows reporting of blocked URLs and easy modifications to the inappropriate content list. It works by providings a browsing sandbox that takes the place of the native Safari browser. Cost is $19.99 and is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad(1/2). Requires iOS 3.0 or later
Virus Scan of Suspicious Website – Free app queries existing database archives that have labeled a site as clean or infected. This would be used prior to visiting a site but should only be considered a small mitigating control as these data sources could be quickly out of date. Otherwise an ok tool to view known problem sites before visiting them. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later
Intego’s VirusBarrier X6 – Software is installed on a Mac computer not an iPad or iPhone itself. Software scans an iPad or iPhone when it is connected to the machine with this installs and helps to validate it is free from malware. This should not be considered real time protection but is an option if a device does become infected and needs to be cleansed.
Symantec VeriSign Identity Protection – Coming Soon (recently announced but not yet available in iTunes store)
Password Managers – Tools that help securely manage passwords for the Apple device itself and more important the assortment of websites you visit.
Roboform – Award winning password manager for other platforms has an offering that is available for free download in the iTunes store. It appears it is not entirely a free app as it requires an annual fee. One other item to note is there is more negative feedback on the iTunes comments vs. what I would expect from what is a normally high quality name brand tool. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later
Splash ID Password Manager – Top rated software costs $9.99 and is my top choice of programs available to securely create lock and store sensitive information. Had the most positive reviews of any security software in the store and also offers password generation and anti-phishing url awareness options. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later
1Password Pro – Password management tool to auto fill password to all the web sites you visit in a secure manner. This type of tool is essential to avoid reusing passwords which puts all of your accounts at risk if any one of the sites you frequent is compromised. If you decide to use this tool remember to back up the data to your iTunes account if you this is your sole method of keeping track of your passwords.The Pro version costs $14.99 and is compatible with: iPhone, iPad, iPad2, iPod touch iOS 3.1.3 or newer
SyCrypt Safe – Provides additional security around passwords/PINs and contacts using a 256 bit key based on the TwoFish algorithm. Costs $1.99 and is compatible with: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later.
mPassword – Maintains passwords to provide additional security over the standard device passcode locks available in most apple devices. App cost $.99 and appears to have a relatively small user install base. Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.
Mnemosyne Password Manager $.99 download that does password management based on a secret pass phrase/username.
Keeper Password & Data Vault – All user feedback suggest the free version with ads is sufficiently bothersome to avoid this application. Compatible with: iPhone and iPad iOS 3.0 or newer
This is just a sample of the security solutions available via iTunes app store and many more are on the way.
For most users I recommend the following setup:
- Use Splash ID Password Manager
- Use Find My iPhone
- McAfee Family Protection (optional if you desire these features)
Other useful resources: