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Apple’s App Store is the biggest security innovation in the last 10 years, says F-secure

A job well done by Apple, says Mikko Hypponen
Wed Apr 24 2013, 14:55
mikko talks up Windows 8 at infosec

INFOSEC: THE APP STORE is the biggest innovation in cyberspace of the last 10 years, according to F-Secure senior security researcher Mikko Hypponen.

Speaking at the Information Security 2013 conference (Infosec) in London on Wednesday, Hypponen said that though Apple's iOS is a closed system, it works in terms of security because users can't install what they want on the software, only apps that have been inspected by the vendor.

"I believe the most important innovation over the last 10 years was the Apple App Store. Think about the Apple model, you have a device where you can't program on it," Hypponen said.

"This is the same model we saw in the Playstation and Nintendo for example, now we have it in our pockets. Say what you will about the system, it works."

Hypponen referred to the success of the iPhone, which has become "the second largest smartphone platform on the planet" since its launch six years ago in summer 2007.

"[It's a] highly visible, very big target, and there's not been a single case of malware in that time," Hypponen said. "Six years and not a single case, that's a massive success story and it's no coincidence, it's a job well done by Apple."

When quizzed about how a closed ecosystem is more innovative than an open operating system such as Google's Android, Hypponen said that despite the security benefits of closed software, he was surprised by how eagerly end users have embraced the closed model.

"I think a more open approach could be better and I definitely prefer open environments and open source. But we've got to give credit - despite all its shortcomings, it has worked," he said.

"If you don't like them, you don't have to use them and frankly I've been surprised how willing and eager people are to embrace this model. They're happy to give up the right to program your own device or run whatever program they want. Apple took a gamble and it worked out."

However, though Apple's iOS is the most secure mobile operating system at present, Hypponen claimed earlier today that we will always be fighting cyber crime and it's unlikely we will be able to secure everything, perhaps hinting that Apple malware is inevitable. µ

 

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