Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

So how secure *is* the iPad OS, anyway?

For a long time, it's been a commonplace that the most dangerous operating system to run was Windows: more often, and more nastily, hacked than any other personal-computing platform. That was for several good reasons, one of them that most versions of Windows have been crap. But another major reason was the hothouse effect. Since there were more Windows machines out there than anything else, simple network effects insisted that it would give you the greatest bang for your hacking buck: more machines that are more alike produces the best opportunities to go create viruses, zombiebots, and other self-reproducing fun.

So as the iPad becomes The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread, I find myself wondering, sincerely, about how bulletproof its security is -- because *boy* has it painted a gigantic target on itself. It's the hot new thing, that *everyone* is piling into. It's a very nicely unified platform: the upside of Apple's little walled garden is that an iPad is an iPad is an iPad -- the devices are very consistent compared to grungy desktop computers. Heck, the really cool ones even have always-on connectivity thanks to that 3G capability. If I was a hacker looking to create trouble today, I'd be the first person in line at the Apple store, disassembling the heck out of the thing and looking for ways in.

It'll be interesting to see what happens. It's possible that Apple really does have its security act together well enough that nobody manages to perpetrate a truly bad hack. But all it would take is one hole in the wrong place, and this has all the makings of the fastest-moving computer plague since the Morris Worm.

(Yes, yes -- there's a measure of sour grapes here. I have little desire to give Apple more money right now, and I am twiddling my thumbs waiting for an Android-based competitor worth my half-grand. But still, Apple is more and more looking like the old Microsoft, and that has implications...)
Tags: technology

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