June 28, 2011, 2:58 PM — Remember all those reports that showed handheld devices – smartphones in particular – would be so insecure that any company letting employees use them for anything more than drink coasters would be flushing their most valuable data down the toilet to be used for nefariously criminal (and revolting) purposes by slime monsters living in the sewers?
It turns out, according to a detailed report from Symantec, that smarphones pose less of a security risk than PCs. At least, Apple's iOS and Google's Android do.
Not because they're not susceptible to attack, as Apple aficionados said about machines running the OS that has become their fetish.
Both iOS and Android are susceptible to many forms of attack, just not as many as laptop or desktop computers (whether Windows or Mac).
When they're used the way corporate users want them to be used – sync'ing or downloading data from the home office periodically to keep all the information they need up to date and at their fingertips – smartphones are more vulnerable, more valuable target because they travel more than laptops, are easier to steal and conceal and easier to break into once they're stolen, the report said.
When it comes to regular viruses and other malware, both iOS and Android repel it more effectively than Windows PCs, but iOS repels them a little more effectively than Android, primarily because of the stranglehold Apple and Steve Jobs keep on the whole Apple software/hardware stack.
By testing and certifying every application and developer who can install anything on iOS, Apple provides more protection for its customers than Android, whose certification and safety-checking processes are much less complete, the report said.