As a security vendor, we’re often asked, “What about Sophos Antivirus for iPhones and iPads?”
We’d love to oblige, but Apple’s iOS development model doesn’t allow the sort of interaction with the operating system that we’d need to build an effective anti-virus program.
In particular, to qualify for the App Store, an app is limited to its own sandbox, where it isn’t supposed to be able to read or interfere with other apps, or to sidestep Apple’s commercial controls.
That makes it impossible for an anti-virus to analyse other apps, or to hook into the operating system itself to scan files after they are downloaded but before they are used.
In other words, even trusted vendors can’t publish apps that do what you’d expect from an anti-virus – not unless you jailbreak your phone, which opens up a whole heap of security risks on its own.
The silver lining, however, is that Apple’s strict walled garden approach has made it much harder to sneak malware onto iPhones and iPads, so Apple devices have experienced a minuscule fraction of the malware troubles that have beset the Android ecosystem.
Of course, no walled garden is perfectly secure against attackers, and Apple regularly issues iOS Read more