Apple’s technology platforms, with a couple of reported exceptions in the past year, have long been known as secure and much less likely to be hit by virus attacks like, say, Microsoft’s Windows platforms.
But security software companies have produced a number of applications over the past year to provide protections on both Mac OS X and iOS platforms, with varying degrees of value.
So is it worth $2.99 for an app that will scan email on your iPhone for viruses, even though it’s statistically more likely that your phone will be attacked by flying monkeys than a botnet or Trojan?
In this case, we’ll say yes. VirusBarrier for iPhone, produced by developer Intego, will scan email attachments sent to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and let you know whether they are infected. If they are, VirusBarrier will attempt to clean it – by stripping the malware from the good data. If it cannot, it certainly gives you the option of deleting it.
It will also scan files in your cloud-based storage service, like DropBox, and similarly tell you whether they are infected.
We were able to download VirusBarrier from the Apple iTunes App Store, update the virus definitions in the app’s database, and try it out on email attachments, all within minutes. By allowing VirusBarrier access to the iPhone DropBox app, we were able to scan files uploaded to that cloud-based storage system. (After we intentionally added an infected file to our own DropBox account, VirusBarrier correctly scanned it and provided the appropriate warning.)
So even though it’s not likely that your iPhone will be vulnerable, it gives your iPhone the ability to become a PC-protection device for the most suspicious of emails and files that make their way through a network filter.
It works, and as a virus-protection device it’s certainly worth the $2.99.