TechEd: Microsoft bets on Windows Phone 8.1 security to beat iOS and Android

Windows Phone 8.1 live tiles

HOUSTON: The security around the Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems is not good enough for most businesses’ needs, according to Microsoft product manager Chris Hallum.

Hallum highlighted Windows Phone’s low malware levels as proof of the platform’s superiority over Android in an interview with V3.

“We view security as a differentiator for our Windows Phone 8.1 platform. Windows Phone is very resistant to malware. Part of this is due to the store policy we use. A big battle protecting customers is working to ensure malware doesn’t get into the ecosystem,” he said.

“If you want to keep malware off your platform you have to pre-vet the applications coming onto it. Google doesn’t do this and that’s why Android is significantly more targeted.”

Google takes an open approach to Android that allows developers to do things like set up third-party marketplaces and sell apps without approval from the company.

While this makes it easier to roll out new services on Android it also makes it simpler for cyber criminals to put Trojan applications loaded with malware into app stores. In January, Cisco claimed Android’s open nature is a key reason why 99 percent of all mobile malware is designed to target the OS.

Unlike Google, Apple takes the same closed approach as Microsoft when managing its iOS ecosystem, but Hallum argued that the company’s ongoing refusal to disclose security issues, or share threat data, undermines its enterprise security credentials.

“I definitely think talking about security is a selling point. Talking about security at a detailed level is what customers want to hear,” he said. “It lets them feel assured and ask sensible questions that help us further improve our platform’s security. This is a lot better than just not saying anything until after an incident occurs.”

Despite Hallum’s claims, Apple’s closed management and security practices have proven effective in the mobile space and there is yet to be a single recorded malware outbreak on non-jailbroken iOS devices.

Windows Phone has enjoyed similarly low malware levels to iOS, though many experts in the security community argue that this could be because hackers are not interested in targeting a platform with such a low market share, which currently accounts for less than 10 percent of global smartphone sales.

Hallum, however, believes Microsoft will continue to enjoy an impressive mobile OS security record even if its market share increases as Windows Phone 8.1 boasts a number of advanced security technologies that he said will future-proof it against even the most dangerous of cyber attacks.

“Windows Phone 8.1 is a breakthrough moment for us in the enterprise and we’ve taken appropriate measures to ensure it remains secure as its popularity grows,” he said.

Windows Phone 8.1 is set to be available from June and has been listed by Microsoft as a key part of its enterprise growth strategy.

Microsoft senior director Stella Chernyak listed Windows Phone 8.1 as the first truly enterprise-ready version of the OS during an earlier interview with V3 at TechEd.

14 May 2014 | 10:04 am – Source: v3.co.uk
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