Excitement plus a little security trepidation about the iPad

Just a day after Steve Jobs presented the highly-anticipated iPad at an event in San Francisco, security analysts are raising concerns about malware, browser and other application attacks, phishing, and other threats seen against the iPhone. The full technical details on the new tablet device are not well known, so some of the likely issues raised are based on speculation and assumptions, but the popularity of the iPhone has already made it something of an exception to the usual rule of thumb that there are far fewer security threats for Apple computers that there are for PCs. The iPad shares technical characteristics of an iPhone (with a new processor designed just for the iPad), and will presumably run many of the same sorts of applications currently sold through Apple’s Apps Store. The potential for exploitation using the sort of attacks often mentioned are certainly not limited to Apple’s products, but devices like the iPhone and the iPad appeal to both Mac computing enthusiasts, non-Mac techies, and far less technical segments of the general population. The prevalence of security threats historically is correlated to the popularity of the devices or platforms targeted for exploitation, so the types of attacks that have been launched against the iPhone are driven in part by the popularity of the product, as well as by exploitable vulnerabilities. To the extent that the iPad adopts security features seen in the iPhone (or also lacks capabilities not available with the iPhone like remote disablement), the same sorts of attacks are likely to hit the iPad. This is of course all speculation pending the release of more complete technical details of the product, particularly in the security arena, but regardless of the validity of recommendations security analysts or vendors might make, so far it seems unlikely that the iPad would be targeted at enterprise use any more than the iPhone has been.

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