As is always the trate with Apple, it’s all about the marketting, and one of the biggest marketting ploys Apple does, whether true or not, is claim guarenteed security on all of their platforms, whether iOS or even OS X.
Now, of course us who know what we’re talking about know that no platform is completely virus free, but to be fair to Apple, their platforms do tend to have a lead in their respective markets for “out of the box protection”.
Of course this comes as Apple recently removed Integos ‘VirusBarrier’ from the App Store, due to the app “not working as advertised”, although Apple has now begun to remove a collection of anti-virus application from the App Store, leading us all to believe this is more than just a one-off thing.
Does iOS have any serious security threats?
One of the many positives, or negatives, on iOS, is how it handle applications which are launched on the platform. Similar to the Linux UNIX kernal on OS X, which let’s be fair is what iOS is based on, iOS launches applications inside of a sandbox, meaning that no other application can gain complete access to another application, unless through a universal integrated extension, since iOS 8. The advantage of this is that no virus or malware that could infect an application, could leave or interact with another application, meaning you could essentially just re-install the application and fix said virus anyway.
However, the reason why a lot of virus scanners were available on iOS, was never really for iOS itself, but to scan for other operating system viruses, similar to the use of anti-virus is on the Mac.
So, the question of whether there’s a real threat of viruses on iOS is obviously that their is no threat, although let’s be fair, there’s never been the big threat of viruses across the board, and yes we’re including Android in that list.
The only real threat of a virus on iOS is if you were to jailbreak the iPhone which would essentially open it up to anything, further than the level of which you’d experience on even Android (post Jellybean).
The real virus threat tends to be the user
According to nearly all virus research, the majority of viruses that end up on Windows, OS X, to mobile devices, were actually either allowed or put their by the user, whilst we’re not blaming you users out there, their is that sense of user training required to prevent basic viruses from getting through. Basics such as pop-ups claiming “you have a virus” dressed like an OS you’re not even on, users should really know this probably isn’t legit.
Essentially, update your OS when there’s an update, and you should be fine. If you’re running Windows on your PC and thinking, hang on what about Windows, what we recommend is a completely free anti-virus program actually from Microsoft themselves called ‘Microsoft Security Essentials’.
Is this just Apple marketing
Of course this is golden for Apple, they continue to strive to their claim of guarenteed protection across their device range, but let’s be fair this is clearly a marketting ploy by Apple in general.
It’s all well and good saying ‘our platform doesn’t get viruses’, then there’s anti-virus apps in the Store, but as we covered earlier, the virus programs were actually scanners used for alternate programs and Emails, so we do question at some levels Apple’s removal of those programs for that reason.
Will the Mac be next?
No. In simple and laments terms, no. The Mac has actually had quite a collection of widespread viruses over the last few years, so it would be silly to remove, or disallow, anti-virus programs from the Mac, as they do serve a purpose, and whilst they aren’t needed as much, do have a purpose that needs to be met.
In fact, to use Apple’s bad use of percentages, the Mac actually had a higher growth of viruses on the Mac, than “the entire industry“, as Apple would call it, so they’ll always be virus protection for the Mac.
Like Windows, their are decent anti-virus and malware programs available for the Mac, the one we’d recommend is called ‘ClamXav‘. ClamXav is an open source anti-virus scanner tool for OS X that’s based on the ClamAV virus engine, and it’s actually a very solid program that does the job, and something we would recommend, again as that extra back end should you feel you need it.
So, their you have it, whilst we can’t completely deny that anti-virus programs are not a requirement on iOS, whether for scanning or other uses, or any mobile platform that is up to date, it’s very clear to see how Apple can take advantage of this as a marketting ploy, you really do have no worry for viruses on iOS.