iPhone is most vulnerable, least secure smartphone in the market, security firm finds

The iPhone is more vulnerable to security attacks and hacks than Android, BlackBerry, and Windows-based smartphones combined, according to security company SourceFire, which has released a ‘25 Years of Vulnerabilities’ study.

The firm’s report puts the vulnerability market share of Apple’s iPhone at a staggering 81 per cent, followed by Android smartphones at 9 per cent, Windows-based phones at 6 per cent, and BlackBerry at just 4 per cent.

While BlackBerry is generally considered the most secure smartphone in the market, with its Canadian parent taking extra pains to heavily encrypt BBM (instant messaging service) and the phone’s email servers, the report on Apple’s vulnerabilities to such a huge extent may end up damaging the upcoming iPhone 6’s chances to once again put Apple ahead of current leader Samsung in the smartphones sweepstakes.


Pie chart courtesy SourceFire

“[T]he vast majority of mobile phone vulnerabilities have been found in iPhone. If we combine all the CVE vulnerabilities [Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures] of the remaining three larger players, they still come out at less than a quarter of the iPhone’s CVEs,” SourceFire highlights in the report.

That’s a stinging indictment of Apple’s initial lack of focus on protecting its users’ data and content from hack attacks. “What’s interesting here is that while Apple didn’t focus very much on security when they first released the iPhone, they have since made significant improvements and can be considered the current market leaders in terms of mitigations,” the report further adds.

“Apple has the highest number of vulnerabilities every year,” the report finds out.

But what’s rather counter-intuitive is that Apple has in fact made the most progress in making its iOS platform secure for its smartphone users, but hackers seem to have got the better of Apple every year, it seems.

“It’s interesting to note though, that Apple has had significant CVE growth year over year, yet their OS has implemented more security features in subsequent iterations,” the security company highlights.

But even if we want to cite Apple’s popularity for the high and growing attacks, the report nips any such argument in the bud by presenting the fact that Android has seen a much more ‘explosive’ growth, sans the vulnerabilities.

“While one may argue that the increase in CVEs is due to the increased popularity of the phone over the years, Android, the current market leader for mobile phone operating systems, has actually received fewer CVEs in 2012 than it did in 2011, even though it had explosive growth in market share,” the report points out.

Indeed, iPhone jailbreaks and hacks are now common with the so-called hackers claiming to jailbreak any new iPhone or iPad within a few hours of the devices being available in the market.


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