Security Experts:

Apple to Discuss iOS Security at Black Hat 2012

Black Hat 2012

Apple is going to do something different next month, something unexpected and out of character. They’re going to do a presentation on security at one of the world’s most known security events – Black Hat.

Dallas De Atley, manager of the Apple platform security team, is listed as a speaker on the Black Hat schedule, and slated to give a talk on iOS security.

iOS DevicesEarlier this month, Apple published a document that examined the security architecture of iOS. While the information within the guide itself wasn’t new, it represented official conformation of the data that the security community has worked to develop and define over the years.

As mentioned in our coverage of that document at the time, Apple seemed to dismiss the notion that such a guide is even needed.

“Apple designed the iOS platform with security at its core,” the guide explains.

“The combination of required code signing, sandboxing, and entitlements in apps provides solid protection against viruses, malware, and other exploits that compromise the security of other platforms. The App Store submission process works to further protect users from these risks by reviewing every app before it’s made available for sale.”

Apple isn’t known for publically talking about security; their marketing department has a track record of ignoring it outright or blocking employees from speaking publically (as was the case in 2008, when three Apple engineers were barred from speaking at Black Hat).

An article in CRN speculates that Apple is presenting at the conference in order to appease enterprise CIOs, who will need a better understanding of Apple’s security posture before they’re allowed on the network, even if their presence consists of iPad and iPhone deployments.

CRN also speculated that the reason for the public conversation surrounding security is related to damage control. Apple is still dealing with the fallout from the Flashback botnet earlier this summer, which eventually led them to making sweeping changes to how Java is secured. 

With that said, aside from the stated purpose of discussing iOS security, any additional reasoning behind the talk itself remains unknown.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.