In the personal computer industry, software makers generally release fixes more quickly. Automated software updates have become necessary features of applications and operating systems, and are typically applied frequently. As a result, PC and Mac users can expect to have issues fixed on their systems in 30 days on average, according to research by security firm Qualys.
Apple vets iPhone applications before making them available through the App Store—which Google does not do with the Android Market. But security fixes for the iPhone are also implemented more quickly because Apple does not rely on carriers to distribute security fixes for the operating system or for applications.”[Apple] doesn’t have to deal with a bunch of devices,” says Lanier. “Their walled garden gives them the control to react more quickly.”
“From a security standpoint, the more automated this stuff is, the greater the penetration of the patching will be and the better off everyone will be,” says Tom Cross, a security researcher with IBM.
Hackers are turning to methods that were originally developed to allow phone users to avoid restrictions imposed by carriers. This practice, known as “jailbreaking,” lets iPhone and Android users give their devices new functionality—such as turning it into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot—without paying extra to the carrier.”The place where we are seeing mature reliable exploit code being disseminated are for vulnerabilities that people are using to jailbreak their phones,” says Cross. “Those exploits can be used for malicious purposes.”
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