Unlike Google’s Play Store, Apple follows a very stringent verification process for the apps made available through its App Store. All the apps are manfully checked for any malware before the developers can makes them available through the App Store. Apple doesn’t also allow apps to be installed on the iOS devices from anywhere else than the App Store. So, iOS devices are generally considered to be safe from malware. But as was the case with PCs and Macs, even the stringent screening systems may sometimes fail to detect all kinds of malware.
In July, 2012, a research organization called Kaspersky Labs detected malware in an app available on the App Store called ‘Find and Call’. Developed by a team of Russian developers, the app sorts and manages the contacts stored on iPhones. The malware in the app could steal the private data stored on the phone easily. This revelation has sent shockwaves among the users of iPhones and iPads who were till then thinking that their gadgets were totally free from any kind of malware. The app was immediately removed from the App Store, and later investigations revealed that a manual oversight led to the app getting posted on the App Store.
Another major problem comes with detecting the malware and viruses on the devices running on iOS. Apple doesn’t allow real time virus scanners like Avast and AVG AntiVirus (which is widely used on Android devices) to run on its devices. So any malware which manages to slip into your iPhone or iPad might stay there undetected for a long time.
Malware can also creep into iOS from other sources too. It is possible to install apps from third party sources like ‘Cydia’ on jailbroken iOS devices. There is no formal verification process for the apps available on these third party sources. As a result, apps with malware can be easily posted on such sites.
Contrary to the popular perception, iOS devices are not totally free from malware and users of these devices need to take some precautions (like in the case of Android devices) before installing apps in them. Below are some of the precautions to be followed to keep iOS devices free from malware:
- Always try to install apps only from App Store
- If you want to install apps from third party sources like Cydia, thoroughly check the background of the app’s developer
- Check the reviews of other people who have used the app before. Such reviews are very helpful in confirming the authenticity of the app
- Be vigilant with apps which seek too many permissions or permission to access unnecessary information in your gadget
- Always set a passcode lock for your gadget.