Are Apple’s Devices Really More Secure?

front of apple store with apple logo from outside of store

For the better part of four decades, Apple has bragged that not only are their devices more secure than PCs, hackers don’t bother building threats specifically for their operating systems because their security is so superior. For this reason, Apple has routinely refused advances from law enforcement to share workarounds so that police can get into phones. Apple’s rationale for this constant refusal is that it would undermine their ability to keep the most secure personal computing devices, secure. Federal law enforcement officials went ahead and developed their own workaround and the findings may surprise many Apple aficionados. Let’s take a look:

The Discovery

After years of trying to go through Apple to gain access, they finally worked it out in 2020. In 2021, cryptographers published Data Security on Mobile Devices: Current State of the Art, Open Problems, and Proposed Solutions, which is a position paper that looked to answer three questions:

  1. What security measures are currently in place to help deter unauthorized access to user data?
  2. How do modern devices allow unauthorized access?
  3. How can mobile security be improved to prevent unauthorized access?

Researchers analyzed both the newest Android and iOS platforms and found that neither of them had security preparations that functioned any better than the other. Any person with the right equipment, and the inclination, can in fact, access the OS on either device. This may come as a shock to those people who have been lauding Apple’s devices to be impenetrable.

Before you trash your iPhone, the researchers did “find a powerful and compelling set of security and privacy controls, backed and empowered by strong encryption” in iOS, but the tools presented were not used frequently enough to ensure security is maintained.

Android’s issues were exacerbated, in comparison to Apple’s, due to the vast amount of manufacturers that make Android-run products. They found that many devices lacked communications with Google, resulting in slowly implemented updates and inconsistencies in some devices’ security and privacy controls.

These are just the hardware and software vulnerabilities. In the rest of the report, the researchers detailed the specific vulnerabilities for each platform.

Weaknesses: Apple’s Devices

One of the iPhone’s best features is that it allows users to securely store data to iCloud. According to the researchers of this report, that isn’t all the data Apple takes possession of. When initiated, iCloud takes control of a lot of other data that is sent to Apple, where it is accessible by all different types of entities, hackers and law enforcement included.

This problem is exacerbated as the defenses put forth by Apple are less effective than initially thought. Analysis of this relationship led researchers to suppose that a tool that has been around since 2018 allows attackers to bypass integrated protections to guess user passcodes.

Weaknesses: Android’s Devices

On the other hand, researchers found Android had some serious issues with its local data protection. An example of this can be found in Android’s lack of an equivalent to Apple’s Complete Protection encryption, which leaves Android more open to breach. This is why the FBI can effectively access data from either platform without help from developers.

So What’s The End Result?

Ultimately, both mobile OSs are much more open to data breaches than either manufacturer is willing to admit. It’s never a good practice to assume your data is safe; especially with the default data protection developers have in place. It just goes to show that there is no such thing as impenetrable security, and it is on the users (or the organization) to actively accept these results and do what they need to do to secure their data more effectively.

To do this, you will need to manage these devices with a mobile device management platform and have your employees sign onto a Bring Your Own Device policy. This way your organization is covered in ways that individual devices and mobile platforms simply can’t.

If you would like more information about Bring Your Own Device, mobile device management, or any other platform that helps keep your organization’s data secure, give the IT experts at 4Corner IT a call at (954) 474-2204.

How Will the IoT Be Shaped by 5G Connectivity?

network digital hologram and internet of things on city background.5G network wireless systems.

If there’s any technology that has received hype in recent months, 5G connectivity has to at least be a contender for the most anticipated. The fifth generation of wireless connectivity is staged to benefit society and businesses alike through improved automation—particularly with the concurrent growth of the Internet of Things helping to develop the next iteration of the economy. Let’s consider how 5G is shaping up, and the impacts that it will likely have in the future.

How 5G Began the Year

While we’ve been hearing about the purported miracles that 5G will be capable of for some time now, it wasn’t until 2020 that we saw actual action taken by telecom providers. These 5G connections offered a few impactful benefits:

  1. Lower latency – 5G connectivity promises to basically eliminate the latency issues people have with their wireless cellular applications.
  2. Increased rates – With a 5G connection, faster wireless speeds allow data to be transmitted, providing users with content quicker.
  3. Enhanced capacity – As 5G grows in popularity, more devices will be able to be connected, meaning more can be done.

Of course, as with every other upgrade made to as significant an infrastructure as that which supports our cellular networks, things won’t change overnight. There will need to be some time spent, both on assembling the new infrastructures necessary and introducing devices that support 5G connectivity.

How Will 5G Connectivity Impact the Internet of Things?

Along with the development of 5G, the Internet of Things has seen stupendous growth, with an estimated 26 billion IoT devices existing in 2020. Once the aforementioned improvements made with 5G connectivity become fully mainstream, businesses will have the option to do so much more involving the IoT. Let’s consider a few ways the IoT will likely see expanded usage:

  1. Manufacturing – Perhaps no other industry will see gains of the same significance that manufacturers will. A low-latency, high-speed connection means that business can happen in virtual real time, with massive amounts of data processed and rendered to make decision-making simpler and a more dynamic process and making quality control, procurement, distribution, and customer relationship management all far better as smart technology actively tracks and reports data at remarkable speed.
  2. Supply chain – Traditionally, supply chain management has required a lot of oversight. IoT has been slowly deployed to make this process more efficient, something that 5G connectivity and issue reporting capabilities that today’s smart devices have will use to improve businesses’ ability to manage their supply chain effectively.
  3. Municipal – Municipal services are seeing greater amounts of automation thanks to the implementation of 5G. It is becoming more likely that we will begin to see “smart cities” developed where essential utilities such as water, sewer, traffic, and electricity are all managed through the use of IoT devices that modulate the need for changes to these systems with very little human oversight, potentially saving taxpayers considerable capital.
  4. Autonomous vehicles – Self-driving cars and trucks are one of the more pronounced benefits that the IoT could offer via 5G connectivity. While a process like this takes a lot of data to implement safely, 5G and its high speeds and low latencies could finally make it practicable.
  5. Healthcare – Finally, it’s been predicted that 5G will make healthcare far more efficient by better handling the enormous amount of data that is sent and received. Once the speeds attainable by this network are utilized en masse, patient data will be more readily available to the medical professionals who need it.

The intersection of 5G and the Internet of Things certainly seems to hold great promise, but time will only tell what ultimately comes of it. Whatever the future may have in store, you could rest confidently knowing that 4 Corner IT is taking care of your business’ technology. Reach out to us at (954) 474-2204 to discuss how your operations could be optimized.