iOS8 is Here And it is More Than Just a Pretty Face…

 In ITC's Threat of the Week

Apple released the much anticipated over discussed release of iOS yesterday, iOS8. It comes with a whole swathe of new features some of which may be useful, and some which will undoubtedly become more annoying than that flapping bird, here are a selection:

iDevice in distress: iOS8 devices can be programmed to use there last smidgeon of charge to blast out it’s destination (in some scally’s pocket) before turning off.

Use a different keyboard: Believe it or not, but there are other people out there writing better (some heretics would have you believe) software than HQ and new mobile keyboards can now be installed, which the fat fingered amongst you may prefer. (Have a look at SwiftKey)

Battery hog identification: You can now prove that Facebook location services are draining your battery.

HELLO! I’M AT A FUNERAL: In true Trigger Happy TV style, you can now take calls destined for your iPhone on your tablet. Those of us with Galaxy Notes have been on this journey for some time, but the potential for being really annoying with a big old iPad are limitless.

Siri the new voice of Shazam: No more waving your phone at the speakers. You can ask Siri to do the hard work for you. You even get the option to buy the tune on iTunes, surprise!

Enough of this fanboi banter. Apple has also taken the opportunity to fix a plethora of serious security issues in iOS8 which will make a difference to both individual and enterprise users. These include kernel flaws, password protection flaws, WiFi credential weaknesses, issues with Safari and WebKit.

You can read more about the fixed issues in Dennis Fisher’s excellent overview here: http://threatpost.com/apple-launches-ios-8-fixes-dozens-of-security-flaws/108354

Three features of iOS8 which look very interesting for Enterprise users and are being looked at by ITC customers are the following:

Always-on VPN: No need to keep reconnecting to company resources. The device will keep a persistent VPN. Battery life may be a consideration, although Apple are saying it isn’t. Watch this space

Content filtering APIs: iOS8 comes with an API to allow proxy providers to selectively hook into applications on the device. This will enable specific URL requests to be forwarded to an in cloud or over VPN proxy where the traffic can

be inspected and logged. Very useful in a highly regulated environment and a significant feature for the financial secotr.

Certificate support for single sign on:  To allow seamless integration with enterprise authentication

Data and device restrictions: Increased data protection for all data types and more robust restrictions around users restricting device functionality or erasing devices.

On the basis of the above, upgrading to iOS looks like a no brainer for both individuals and enterprise. The enterprise functionality will take a little time to shake out.

(We would caution upgrading your iPhone 4s at the moment because we are worried that the venerable pensioner may suffer under the load! Maybe wait for 8.1, which may lighten the load for the elderly)

ITC will be reviewing the details of these upgrades in October( including a visit to HQ no less!) and will update you thereafter with more details about the corporate security implications.

You can’t help but wonder how the MDM vs vendor based security functionality will shake out, what with these security rich features and Samsung’s Knox platform? Time will tell.

If you would like to discuss any of these issues or anything about secure networking, contact us at: sales@itcsecure.com or call us on 020 7157 3900

 

Author: Kevin Whelan

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