Apple Releases iOS Security Guide

Apple posted a 20-page security guide for iOS devices, titled iOS Security (PDF). Targeted at business customers, the guide doesn't shy away from technical details, but is written in plain and understandable English (there's even a glossary).

It's interesting to see how Apple regards the limits that iOS places on the user -- like no access to the file system, apps only installed through the Apple Store, and so on -- as security features worth bragging about, not an impediment to empowering the user. I wonder if they designed iOS to achieve maximum security from the start, or if the high levels of security are just a byproduct of Apple's control-freak design approach, and a way of enforcing the App Store-only model of software distribution.

To their credit, and for whatever reason, they've thought quite a bit about security, and most of the default settings follow the recommended model of giving the least privilege possible to operate the device. This is in stark contrast to Microsoft's "everyone is an admin so you can access as many features as possible" approach that made Windows so insecure in the past. Ironically, Apple's obsession with security reenforces their monopoly position as the only app distribution option, whereas Microsoft's "anything goes" approach to security was so instrumental in establishing their monopoly position as the OS distributor of choice back when people actually used desktop computers.


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