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Eugene Kaspersky frustrated by Apple’s iOS AV ban

Wants to retaliate first before crooks crack iOS

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Eugene Kaspersky is “a little bit disappointed … Apple won’t let us” develop antivirus software for iOS devices, as he feels it is only a matter of time before criminals target the operating system.

“We as a security company are not able to develop true endpoint security for iOS,” Kaspersky told The Register in Sydney today. “That will mean disaster for Apple,” he opined, as malware will inevitably strike iOS in the future.

Kaspersky says the infection vector won’t be iOS itself, which he said is “by design is more secure” than other operating systems. He therefore rates it “almost impossible to develop malware which does not use vulnerabilities. The only way is to inject it into the source code of legal software. It will take place in a marketplace and then there will be millions or tens of millions of devices.”

Criminals have, to date, ignored this route because Kaspersky says “it is more complicated” than other attacks. “They are happy with Windows computers. Now they are happy with Mac. They are happy with Android. It is much more difficult to infect iOS but it is possible and when it happens it will be the worst-case scenario because there will be no protection. The Apple SDK won’t let us do it.”

The result of an attack on iOS, he feels, will be declining market share for Apple and a concomitant boost for Android, a platform he admits is less secure but which at least offers developers the chance to develop security software. A severe attack, Kaspersky argues, therefore has the potential to highlight the problems of a closed ecosystem and damage Apple permanently.

The Russian has even put his money where his mouth is on the issue, betting with friends that Android will achieve 80% market share by 2015, in part thanks to security issues on other platforms. ®

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