Mobile devices have been often considered as less risky. Desktop and laptop computers, the thought goes, are far more susceptible to hackers and cyber criminals. That’s true to some degree. But hackers are clever enough today to compromise tablets and smartphones, too. And there’s one particular mobile device that gets compromised far more often than every other. Reported by a recent story by Business Insider, it’s the iPhone that is the most hackable mobile device.
Business Insider reported on the latest statistics from Web security company SourceFire, which released the report “25 Years of Vulnerabilities.” This report charted the Critical Vulnerabilities and Exposures — better known as CVE — of a host of software and mobile devices. The CVE is the standard that security companies use when charting cyber-exploits. SourceFire found that 210 CVE reports had been filed on the iPhone. For comparison’s sake, Android only had 24 CVE reports.
What’s behind the disparity? Why should the iPhone suffer so many more hack attacks? There isn’t one simple answer. Business Insider, though, questions if the popularity of the iPhone is behind the higher numbers. Naturally, it makes sense that hackers would like to target one of the most popular mobile devices. There’s a fault with this argument, though. This past year, the buzz and market share of Android-powered mobile devices soared. But while this happened, the number of CVE reports on Android devices actually fell. So as the devices grew to become more popular, they actually suffered fewer attacks.
Going after the king
A recent interview with the SourceFire report author on the ZDNet Web site suggests another reason for the high number of iPhone hacks: Hacking the iPhone might represent a challenge worthy of the most skilled hackers. Consider how Android devices work. They make use of an open platform. This means that developers could create malicious third-party apps that users can download themselves onto their phones. That’s not very much of a challenge for hackers. But hacking the iPhone, which does not boast an open platform? That’s a real test of a hacker’s skill.