Security Updates for iOS 6 Are Relevant to the Fire Service

Apple security issues for first responders

One of the biggest benefits for users of iOS 6 devices is security. Because of the hardware identity implemented for every iOS device, as well as the identity of each software app delivered, malware and other hacks, while possible, are highly unlikely. Apple takes security seriously, and has multiple options for tracking and managing security of iOS overall. Apple claims they have remedied 197 issues related to iOS security.

As a first responder, having confidence in your communications and management software and hardware is essential. City and State IT agencies will eagerly seek out flaws in any software solution to ensure compliance with their organization’s policies and workflow.

From a practical point of view, there are several updates that will enhance your device’s security, and also increase your peace of mind.

Kernel Address Space Layout Randomization
There is no need to remember the KASLR terminology. From a security perspective, this is an exciting feature of iOS 6.While the feature list is long, the baseline explanation is fairly easy. There are certain data structures within any operating system that allow hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the operating system if they can get access to them. In iOS 6, these addresses are not static – they change periodically. So hackers can no longer use some of the most common methods for breaking into iPad, iPod, and iPhone software. IF you’re heard of a “jailbroken phone,” that would be a demonstration of someone achieving success in this type of hack.

Now, with iOS 6, it will take a far more sophisticated engineer/hacker to come up with a jailbreak solution. It will also be far more challenging to come up with malware or other malicious software. And, in the event that someone does establish something nasty for your iOS device, Apple will have the ability to kill off most such attempts.

More Granular Privacy Controls
A core issue for anyone interested in security relates to the gathering of information from your device without permission. Plenty of articles have been written about apps gathering information, and iOS 6 has put warnings in place to help make apps actions more transparent. Their new, more granular privacy notifications require apps to receive your permission before requesting access to your location, contacts, calendars, reminders, or photos. While simple, this is also important as it clearly puts the control over privacy into the hands of the users.

Many software manufacturers tout new features of their operating systems and software. Placing an emphasis on security and those issues that take place in the background are of equal importance. And, Apple’s iOS 6 looks to be the most secure version of its mobile OS yet. As literally thousands of first responders are starting to use the iPad and iPhone, both professionally and personally, this is good news indeed.

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Michael Monroe

Michael Monroe

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