Channel Asks Apple To Engage Alliances To Improve Security

As the rising tide of malware begins to sweep over the Mac, as well as Windows and other operating systems, Apple has begun changing its tune with respect to information security.

Whereas the Cupertino, California-based company has long claimed that Macs are not susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers, Apple has now extended its security-related messaging toward a stronger connection with technological differentiators, most notably involving ’Gatekeeper,’ the company’s new OS X Mountain Lion security feature that is slated for release in July. Gatekeeper is intended to enable OS X developers to digitally sign their apps as a means of defending against malware.

The first Mac botnet, which exploited a Java vulnerability, became hot news in April and could easily be the reason why the shift in messaging occurred, though no such confirmation has ever been issued by Apple.

[Related: Apple Quietly Removes Windows Security Comparisons ]

Sponsored post

’Apple is growing up,’ said Alex Bichuch, managing partner of IP ConnectX Corp., a Toronto, Ontario-based channel partner. ’They are transitioning from the arrogant kid who thought he was invincible to a much more realistic assessment of their limitations. They are clearly recognizing the need for enhanced security in their devices because the boundary between business use and personal use is becoming blurred.’

Other partners are openly calling for Apple to engage a wide variety of business allies in order to get a more broad range of expertise applied to the company’s security needs.

’Security is becoming a much more important theme for Apple,’ said Brian Columbus, Director of Client Solutions at Liquid Networx, a San Antonio, Texas-based channel partner. ’Now that they’re getting targeted more frequently by malware, they need to begin taking more proactive measures to combat the problem. Perhaps they should start working with partners in this area. From a psychological perspective, bringing more people into the process tends to suggest that you have less to fear. So I think there are things they can learn from the Microsoft experience.’

NEXT: The Hidden Price of Success

Much of Apple’s past stability in the area of information security stems from the fact that the company was historically more focused on consumer markets, as opposed to business markets. But over the course of the last few years, Apple devices have become increasingly common in the workplace, and the widespread success of the iPhone helped to stimulate that trend still further. But just as every upside has a corresponding downside, the need to address security issues has become more prevalent.

’Now that Apple is getting their fair share of attacks, they need to take a more systematic approach to building security from the ground up,’ said Mohamed Abuagla, president and CEO of Intelligent Technologies Labs, an Alexandria, Virginia-based channel partner. ’A stronger position around encryption would be especially beneficial. The issue is far more severe when it comes to their phones and mobile devices. So it would be a good idea for them to start putting together task forces that can help them to understand the security needs of the various vertical markets, and then they can start integrating solutions based on those needs.’

The need for increased dialogue seems as though it might be part of Apple’s plan. The company has plans to establish a strong presence at next month’s the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. Platform security manager Dallas De Atley is expected to deliver a presentation on key security technologies in iOS.