iPhone, iPad untouched by mobile malware attacks

iPhone, iPad untouched by mobile malware attacks

Anti-virus maker McAfee has released a report saying that iOS devices, including iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch were pretty much unaffected by the growing mobile malware attacks facing platforms like Google's Android. Jailbroken iOS devices were slightly more vulnerable, having had to deal with 4 variants of the same attack, but still far less than the 44 affecting Android (a 76% increase.)

The difference seems largely explained by how Apple runs their platform -- as a closed, closely inspected garden that makes it far more difficult for malicious apps to make it into the App Store and through to consumers. Google, meanwhile, has a far more open ecosystem that allows far more types of apps in the Market, including some that ought not be allowed.

In other words, if you live in the Apple bubble, it might be a bit stuffy but you won't get rained on. Depending on how much you value mobile security, that might be a tradeoff you're willing to make.

Note: Anti-virus companies no doubt would love to get more heavily into the mobile market, so read any reports they put out in that context.


Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 11 comments. Add yours.

OrionAntares#CB says:

Clearly webOS is the best option with no malware, a closed market system, with an easy to access open system that the company saying "have fun". :P

Matt says:

Makes me love my $99 Touchpad even more!

Okruch says:

Rene, please make your mind. Is Android open or is it "openy"? I'm confused.
I like your comparison to a garden though. But it is more like a dairy farm. Farmer manages cattle, decides what they eat, what they drink, where they go, what they do. And, most importantly, milks them.
As for the security, PWN2OWN says it all...

Jerry says:

Not sure it's a fair comparison if it didn't include Jailbroken iOS. Anyone have any idea what percentage of iOS devices are jailbroken?

Eduard van der Zwan says:

I understand that webOS is much more open than Android. The link between openness and vulnerability is thus not that clear since they score just as good as iOS? Or is this just because nobody uses webOS? Well J2ME should have a 0 too, or not???

Talmage Mcguigan says:

Which is why I don't own an Android.

Richard Kirk says:

Untouched? Guess those PDF exploits that were used to install Cydia don't count. You know, the ones that happened twice at least. Misleading article AND title.

Sojoss says:

That's not malware, genius. It's a hole in the system and nowhere in the article it's said it doesn't have any, all OSes have.

Tony Allen says:

This is at fault of two things..
A. Android is quickly becoming a top competitor in the smartphone arena, therefore it is becoming a target for this sort of thing, just like Windows.. compared to OSX.
B. These malware 'attacks' were attached to extremely questionable applications available in the Android Market, only an idiot would have actually downloaded some of the things containing these.
I do believe that the only way to prevent this is a more stringent application submission/approval process for the Android Market, that's really the only reason this got through.

johncblandii says:

I actually wrote a proposal for Google earlier this year: http://johncblandii.com/2011/03/android-curated-app-publishing-proposal.....
The gist:
Apple and Google are on completely different ends of the spectrum and I propose Google curate but not like Apple.