Triumph of the geek

Hats off to Apple for another in a two-decade long series of electrifying product announcements yesterday.

While Hollywood is the master at creating frenzy over a new release, often spending as much on marketing as production, the enthusiasm with which Apple announcements are greeted is no less hysterical. But in Apple’s case, the passion is most often justified. The products deserve the impassioned response. They deliver, they’re innovative, they’re simple to operate, they do what they’re supposed to.

I received perhaps 20 different press releases yesterday announcing some aspect of the new iPhone 3G. There was a separate release for each country in which the device was about to receive distribution (July 11, in case you were in a coma). And there were a number of third-party partnership announcements.

One of the key developments with the new generation communication device is its integration into enterprise use. That is, Apple is making every effort to increase its appeal to business users. The new iPhone 3G now supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, which allows road warriors to send and receive email and have access to their calendar and contacts. It also gives mobile users the ability to securely tap into the corporate network via Cisco IPsec VPN and wireless network services with WPA2 Enterprise and 802.1X authentication.

On top of all this, Apple has made it simple for anyone to create applications to be used on the iPhone.

And that’s what information security professionals need to take a look at. In all the news and hoopla greeting the introduction of the iPhone 3G, there was not a word about security issues these wireless tools and third-party apps may bring to the market.

The technology is moving swiftly. But along with these tremendous developments come attendant potential calamities – everything from new generations of malware developed specifically for mobile networks, to viruses introduced via third-party apps.

Apple, so far, has largely avoided the infections that have targeted Microsoft products. But now that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is increasing its alliance with the Redmond, Wash.-based company in this move to grab a larger enterprise market share – not to mention a growing share of the consumer market as well, particularly with the price point coming down significantly – it wouldn't be unexpected to see a growth in attacks spreading via the iPhone network.

What’s being done to keep the network secure? We’ll do our best to stay on top of developments. Let us know what you know.

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