Feature Article

May 06, 2013

Mobile Active Defense Supports Apple's Fight

Apple has vowed to reconsider a decision it made to change the way in which iPhones and iPads handle virtual private networking (VPN) access. The new development follows the conclusion of a patent lawsuit with VirnetX.

Mobile Active Defensive, the Smartphone Security Company, announced on Friday its full support of Apple's action to reconsider.

The trouble began back in 2012 when Apple lost a patent infringement case. Initially, the company decided to modify a key security function in iOS – the on demand virtual private network (VPN). Apple intended to reconfigure iOS 6 so that its VPN on demand setting defaulted to “establish if needed” rather than “on demand.”

Right away, Mobile Active Defense published a White Paper in response, and CTO Rob Smith stepped up to say that changing the VPN on demand feature had profound security implications.

And then in rolled the so-called security pundits, insisting that the proposed change was “merely a matter of inconvenience.” Some speculated that it only meant that users would now have to manually start the VPN before initiating any data traffic – but nothing much beyond that.

But others beg to differ, claiming that the impact of Apple's announced changes to the default VPN security within iOS underscores the substantial risks that organizations face when attempting to securely deploy their mobile workforce.

Mobile Active Defensive says that organizations worldwide must now seriously ask themselves if they want to be put in a position of dependency on mobile device manufacturers and developers of operating systems, whose decision-making process may not always be the most thorough.  

It seems Apple users may not have to worry, as now that Apple is challenging the patent infringement verdict, it is likely that on demand VPN will not be removed.

“We completely support Apple's court challenge,” said Winn Schwartau, chairman of Mobile Active Defense said, adding: “Too many enterprises – and even MDM vendors – do not really understand the inner workings of mobile operating systems. They do not always appreciate the profound impact on security a seemingly innocuous change can cause.”

Edited by Alisen Downey

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