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IBM unveils app security scanner for iPhone

21 Feb 2013

IBM has unveiled an iPhone and iPad security scanner that will help developers lock down data on users' handsets and reduce the risk associated with bring your own device strategies.

IBM's AppScan Source 8.7 for iOS can analyse apps and alert developers to any vulnerabilities in their code, the firm said. It also lets IT chiefs analyse apps that staff may want to use on their iPhone or iPad, warning them of any potential dangers.

"If you find anything it's going to cost you a fortune to go and fix it. You have to go and find out who wrote [the vulnerability], were it is in the code, what did they do wrong, and how you're going to fix it," Caleb Barlow, director of mobile security at IBM, told V3.

"What we allow you to do is scan it during the development process. Its becoming much more like a spell check. You're finding those vulnerabilities along the way and squashing them when it won't cost a lot of money."

In developing AppScan for iOS, IBM analysed 40,000 mobile APIs for apps developed using Apple's iOS Software Development Kit.

"Everyone in security is obviously doing something with iOS but this is going down to a level of depth that is pretty significant," continued Barlow.

"I mean literally scanning every line of code."

IBM first introduced its AppScan line in 2008, using technology from its $2.1bn acquisition of development tool maker Rational Software. It has previously offered AppScan for apps running on Android handsets.

"You've got seven billion people on the planet two billion have computers and five billion have phones," said Barlow.

"Of those five billion phones, their all becoming smartphones in the next 12 to 36 months, so if you're a bad guy forget about the computer lets go after the phone."

Security firms have repeatedly warned firms over the burgeoning volume of malware aimed at smartphones, with much of it spread by malicious apps.

Meanwhile, many businesses have prevented users from using their own devices for work purposes because of security concerns.

AppScan Source for iOS will be available from 25 March.

The tool's launch is just the latest of recent new offerings from Big Blue, which also announced an update to its Power Systems offerings earlier this month.

This is designed to bring big data analytics capabilities to smaller firms and emerging markets and tackle rivals HP and Oracle.

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