ComputerWorld has digested a McAfee report titled 2011 Threat Predications Report. Now, I’ll presume that a company that’s in the anti-virus industry always predicts lots of threats…then they sell something to stop them. But it’s still an interesting thesis. They note that OS X users have always thought that their OS is impenetrable to attacks (which everyone knows is entirely fictional and in fact Apple tends to take longer to patch known problems far longer than Microsoft). As the OS grows, it becomes more attractive to hackers. McAfee notes:

The popularity of iPads and iPhones in business environments and the easy portability of malicious code between them could put many users and businesses at risk next year and beyond…We anticipate threats of data and identity exposure will become more pronounced.

and they conclude:

Mac OS X still represents a mere fraction of the potential Windows-based victims out there, but the false sense of security and general lack of understanding of security threats actually make it an easier target. The rise of mobility — and Apple’s prominent role in smartphones and tablets — also paint a bull’s eye on Apple’s back.

There are some features built into iOS (like sandboxing) that should help protect user’s data but its certainty not free of faults and in fact every time we hear of a jailbreak that means that the community has found an exploit in the OS with root access so whether we’re talking of Mac OS or iOS there are true vulnerabilities out there. The question is if they’ll be exploited.

Call me ignorant but I doubt we’ll see some exponential spike this year. We’ve seen some exploits on both iOS and Android this past year (including fake apps that data mine) and no platform is immune from this to a degree. We’ll get some incremental increases (since there are more phones and more apps) but I’m not too doom and gloom. So, you’re up – what do you think 2011 holds?

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