By Winn Schwartau
Eugene Kaspersky is incredibly wrong on several of his recent headline-grabbing
assertions. So help me, he is.
First, as reported on March 19th, 2010 by SC Magazine, he said, “a move towards smart
phone devices will see computer security disappear along with viruses and criminals.”
He added that, “1TB is more than what we need…3D [graphics] is the end.”
Wow, how wrong can you be? The move to smart phones is producing exactly the
opposite results: iPhones, iPads and other smart phones have already been rooted,
Trojan’d and according to a July 2009 study, 3% of smart phones are already infected
with some form of unwanted software. A global audience of a few hundred million that
will expand to a couple of billion unsophisticated users is a cybercriminal’s dream victim
I asked Congress a number of years ago, “for what reason would the bad guys NOT use
the Internet as a weapon?” They demurred and we see what has happened.
Today, I see no rational argument that highly organized, motivated and skilled
cybercriminal will choose to idly sit back and ignore the most fertile hunting ground
imaginable; dumb users. Is there any evidence to the contrary supporting Mr.
Kaspserky’s view? I submit not. Further I submit that his short-sided views of future
RAM, CPU and bandwidth requirements are also in fundamental error.
3D is the maximum imaginable requirement of the user? 1080p is as far as we can go?
Absolutely not. Laboratories are playing with complete sensory immersion, braincomputer
links, instantaneous squid-like feedback, and holodeck simulations. A visit to
the MIT Media Lab or Santa Fe Institute clearly demonstrates that there is no logical
upper limit of requisite computing resources for the Enterprise or the Consumer.
My second disagreement is with Mr. Kaspersky’s April 28th 2010 statement at Infosec,
UK, that the currently heterogeneous population of competing smart phone platforms is
predestined to collapse into a noncompetitive homogenous blob. His only argument is
that open-source approaches such as with Android and Symbian will last more than five
years, while iPhone, Blackberry and Windows Mobile, “closed systems” are pre-ordained
A little history. IBM dominated the first computing monoculture (homogeneity) with the
mainframe. “You can’t get fired for buying IBM,” was a topical C.Y.A. mantra that
survived long into Microsoft homogenized takeover of the desktop environment.
The homogeneous monoculture of the mainframe era and the last thirty years of
Windows was a byproduct of corporate entrenchment and the simplicity of single vendor
integration, standardization and deployment, (albeit questionable from a security
The smart phone era has been unpredictably chaotic, in a good way. The projected four
billion mobile endpoints (2013-4) are not being driven by a controlled corporate culture.
Smart phone purchases are dictated by a whimsical and capricious, transnational and
cross-cultural buying public who knows no allegiance. (Mac and iPhone fans
notwithstanding.) Their obvious fickleness is exploited by carriers who offer a dizzying
array of hardware platforms, multiple operating environments and now, suites of
In this truly heterogeneous market, the user cares about tweeting, texting, facebooking,
surfing, snapping megapixel pictures and sharing their videos with others. In the Web
2.0+ world, the OS and the hardware are completely incidental to the interoperability and
compatibility of functionality… not the underpinning technology. Oh, and does it come
So, Mr. Kaspersky, will the iPhone or iPad of 2015 project holographic images of aging
baby boomers to their descendants? Maybe. But I would also lay odds it would do so
with Apple tightly managing its kernel controlled pre-emptive multi-tasking OS. Will
Android offer a competing open-source application? Yup. And so will Symbian and
Microsoft and it will eat up gobs of computing resources and bandwidth, too.
Fundamentally, sir, there is no end to innovation, no end to computing power
requirements and no end to the demands of the multi-immersive consumer.
And that brings up the third of Mr. Kaspersky’s triumvirate of misstatements. In his
March 11th, 2010 interview with PC Pro, he claimed that Apple is blocking third party
security software on the iPhone.
That claim is simply not true. Mobile Active Defense was completely reviewed, vetted,
stapled, folded and ultimately approved by Apple for iPhone and iPad security. The
complete Enterprise Compliance Edition is to soon follow. All this prior to his interview.
Our job, I submit, is to invisibly protect two billions users from themselves and the
hostiles while they enjoy the fruits of the technology that they cannot nor should not be
expected to understand.
Winn Schwartau is considered among one of the leading experts on information security, infrastructure protection, electronic privacy. He is one of the world's top experts and renowned author and lecturer on security, privacy, infowar, cyber-terrorism and related topics. Honored in 2002 by Network World as a "Power Thinker" and one of the most powerful people by Network Wold. In 2008 voted one of the Top 25 Most Influential People by Security Magazine and again in 2009 one of the Top 5 Security Thinkers.
More information at www.mobileactivedefense.com