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Apple says its iPhone 3G S is "ready for business", however one leading hacker calls it "useless" for business users, thanks to its woefully poor encryption and security. He says the phones pose a serious threat to companies adopting them. Still, some companies say it's worth the risk.  (Source: The iPhone Blog)
The iPhone yet again experiencing criticism over poor security

Jonathan Zdziarski, an iPhone developer and a hacker who teaches forensics courses on recovering data from iPhones, hasn't been very impressed with the iPhone's security -- or lack thereof.  Mr. Zdziarski has indicated that iPhone OS v3.0 is a bit better when it comes to security, but he says with only a few pieces of readily available freeware you can easily crack it in under two minutes.  That news must be concerning for the corporations and government agencies that support the hundreds of thousands of business iPhones Apple says it has sold.

Mr. Zdziarski says the iPhone's security woes are entirely unnecessary and are the result of incompetence.  He states, "It is kind of like storing all your secret messages right next to the secret decoder ring.  I don’t think any of us [developers] have ever seen encryption implemented so poorly before, which is why it’s hard to describe why it’s such a big threat to security."

His statements stand in stark contrast with Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook's cheerful news that 20 percent of Fortune 100 companies have purchased 10,000 or more iPhones apiece and that multiple government organizations had purchased 25,000 iPhones apiece.  Mr. Cook had bragged, "We’re seeing growing interest with the release of iPhone 3.0 and the iPhone 3GS due in part to the new hardware encryption and improved security policies.  The phone is particularly doing well with small businesses and large organizations."

Mr. Zdziarski says these entities might be in trouble as the encryption on the phone is so poorly implemented a simple software tool makes it as easy to view encrypted files as unencrypted ones.  Thieves could extract live encrypted data from the phone in a mere 2 minutes, and have an entire raw disk image in about 45 minutes.  Interestingly, the iPhone itself helps with these tasks – it begins to decrypt data on its own automatically after the extraction process has started.

Corporate users often edit finance spreadsheets and other corporate documents on their phone, as well as using the phone to make transactions with corporate credit cards.  All of this information is easy pickings for hackers thanks to the phone's woeful security.  Mr. Zdziarski surmises, "If (companies are) relying on Apple’s security, then their application is going to be terribly insecure.  Apple may be technically correct that [the iPhone 3GS] has an encryption piece in it, but it’s entirely useless toward security.  We’re going to have to go with the old imperative of ‘Trust no one'.  And unfortunately part of that is, don’t trust Apple."

Still, some companies say that the risks of deployments are worth it.  States Lance Kidd, chief information officer of Halton Company, an industrial equipment provider, which lets its employees use iPhones, "Your organization has to be culturally ready to accept a certain degree of risk.  I can say we’ve secured everything as tight as a button, but that won’t be true…. Our culture is such that our general manager is saying, ‘I’m willing to take the risk for the value of the applications.’  It’s like business continuity.  You prepare for disasters. You prepare for if there’s an earthquake and the building breaks down, and you prepare for if there’s a crack in [information] security."

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RE: ... iPhone is Incredibly Insecure
By pxavierperez on 7/25/2009 2:12:54 AM , Rating: -1
Here's a rewrite since you completely missed the point in my post: The exclusion of flash in the iPhone is negligent. Compared to what the iPhone can do at that price point you mentioned, it's a bargain.

It's easier to convert an iPhone into a developer's platform because of its OSX underpinning which has its roots in UNIX. Not to mention how considerably fast and easy it is to develop an app for an iPhone compared to Windows Mobile.

When Apple touted the iPhone as a full fledged computer that fits in your back pocket, it was not a marketing gimmick at all. it was stated fact. People talking about Apple do not have a netbook on their product line, well, the iPhone is Apple's netbook.

RE: ... iPhone is Incredibly Insecure
By dark matter on 7/25/2009 4:07:06 AM , Rating: 5
Well you best make sure that pocket of yours doesn't go above 35 degrees or you may find you get less than you bargained for.

Oh, and don't let the ambient temperature drop below zero as well.

Don't use it in sunshine.

Don't hold it in your hand (your hand is 37 degrees!!)

A phone that has a maximum thermal envelope lower than the temperature of the hand holding it. Wow, what a bargain.

By AstroCreep on 7/25/2009 10:05:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well take a look at this patent Apple applied for back in 2007:

My guess is it was going to be the iMitt; hold a warm iPhone and still be able to manipulate it! ;)

And no, that is not a fake patent application. They apparently dropped the idea, but not before concocting it! :p

By Alexstarfire on 7/25/2009 11:03:41 AM , Rating: 3
And I never argued that. All I said was that it doesn't have the best browser since it doesn't support flash. Is that an opinion to you? Cause that's a fact. I never disagreed that it was a bargain at that price point, now did I? And I never disagreed with you on he development part. If fact, I said I couldn't even say anything about them since I don't know about the programs at all. Of course, I'm not sure why you start talking about Apps on the iPhone when you were talking about web development before. And I don't see how if the programs work on Win Mobile that'd it'd be any more difficult, but I really don't know.

Why do you have such issue with what I say? Do you not like facts?

By themaster08 on 7/28/2009 5:40:41 AM , Rating: 2
It's easier to convert an iPhone into a developer's platform because of its OSX underpinning which has its roots in UNIX.

I would much prefer to have a developer platform in which I can rely on the hardware in extreme circumstances, such as the phone being exposed to scorching temperatures of 35 degrees, as mentioned by the above poster.

I would also prefer to have a secure platform. You'd better hope that no one hacks your phone and steals all of your hard work, then passes it off as their own.

When Apple touted the iPhone as a full fledged computer that fits in your back pocket

It turned out to be a half-baked phone that overheats in your back pocket.

"Fullfledged" would incline that everything available on a computer is available for the iPhone. The lack of flash is just one example of how baseless your claim is.

This is a fullfledged computer that fits in your back pocket

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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