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What To Do About iPhone Security Concerns

Recent discoveries highlight mobile security limitations

Two recent security scares regarding the iPhone have brought renewed attention to the iPhone readiness for business use. In one case Forbes.com author Andy Greenburg garnered a lot of attention with his " How to Hijack Every iPhone In the World " story. This describes an SMS exploit that will be exposed at the Black Hat CyberSecurity event in Las Vegas this week.   "Researchers say they'll demonstrate how to send a series of mostly invisible SMS bursts that can give a hacker complete power over any of the smart phone's functions. That includes dialing the phone, visiting Web sites, turning on the device's camera and microphone and, most importantly, sending more text messages to further propagate a mass-gadget hijacking."

In the other story appearing in InformationWeek and elsewhere, a security expert Johnathan Zdziarski demonstrates on Youtube how a user created iPhone password can be circumvented and how a hacker could gain access to a raw disk image that could disclose personal information and deleted emails.

These stories and others highlight the intrinsic security limitations of distributed data and applications. The iPhone exacerbates the problem due to the fact that most of the devices are employee owned and managed vs company IT. On the other hand the iPhone has brought the industry a capable new platform that users crave and can make anyone productive from anywhere. Simply refusing company access from iPhones is not necessarily the right answer.

Many companies have been using Citrix as a way to keep data, desktops and applications centralized under IT control for many years. Whats new is the Citrix Receiver app for the iPhone that extends the same security and control to mobile devices. If the company data never leaves the data center the security risk is dramatically reduced, regardless if the iPhone is lost, stolen or hacked. The increase in popularity of the iPhone can even save a company money because they don't need to buy and support traditional BlackBerry's. Rather employee's are buying iPhones themselves and only need simple access to existing company apps. So before just saying " no " to iPhones in business, consider the safe options available.  

http://citrix.com/iPhone    

More Stories By Chris Fleck

Chris Fleck is Vice President of Emerging Solutions at Citrix Systems. Chris started his career at IBM working across multiple engineering and product organizations leading to Business Unit Exec of the IBM Industrial Computer Group. As a pioneer of new technologies, Chris founded an IBM spin-off to commercialize the initial Server Blade products as CEO of OmniCluster Technologies. At Citrix Chris is responsible for Emerging Solutions and is involved with or leading strategic initiatives at the company. You can follow him on Twitter and his blog at TechInstigator.com

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