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iPad Email Hack Shows AT&T Security Sloppiness

Info on more than 100,000 iPad email addresses grabbed from AT&T by a self-proclaimed security group will cause far more problems for AT&T than for Apple. But Apple's single-mindedness about AT&T deserves more than a bit of the blame, too.
Info on more than 100,000 iPad email addresses grabbed from AT&T by a self-proclaimed security group will cause far more problems for AT&T than for Apple. But Apple's single-mindedness about AT&T deserves more than a bit of the blame, too.The iPad e-mail address data-steal was, according to perpetrator Goatse Security, intended to reveal vulnerabilities in AT&T's protection of iPad data.

You can mark that job done, as AT&T admitted to Gizmodo yesterday.

The exploit took advantage of a log-in convenience feature intended to simplify account access for iPad users. Problem is, it simplified the data harvest too. making the data available via a brute force scrape attack on the log-in app.

AT&T's response was to turn off the feature that got scraped, closing that particular door after the horses have run off.

Question is, how many other vulnerabilities are hidden among the various apps, services and tools AT&T has arrayed around the iPad?

That's the same question, of courses, that users would be asking about any compromised company, but the fact that iPad users have no alternative -- at present anyway -- to AT&T makes the concerns, and the doubts accompanying them, especially pernicious.

And that's the biggest vulnerability the iPad, and the iPhone carry, I believe. It's one thing to buy a phone company phone and be stuck with the phone company's service and security or lack thereof.

It's quite another to buy -- and, frankly buy into -- a computing platform and be stuck with a single connection provider. At the moment, iUsers are all hooked up, clearly vulnerably, with no place to go.

Single-provider service is itself a major vulnerability.

Until this changes, it's clear that the iPad may bear the Apple logo but is essentially and unfortunately an AT&T-defined product.

When it comes to the no-choice-but-AT&T situation, it's time for Mr. Jobs to tear down that wall.

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Kirsten Powell, Senior Manager for Security & Risk Management at Adobe
Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5