F-Secure chief warns Siri is 'unsafe for business'

Summary:F-Secure has warned corporate users away from Apple's Siri only a month after IBM imposed a Siri ban on its internal network to prevent the disclosure of corporate data.

Apple's Siri is unsuitable for business and enterprise networks, according to F-Secure vice-president Maria Nordgren.

Why? Not only has Siri read your contacts, knows your calendar off by heart, and probably knows your partner's birthday, it may also know your company's secrets.

Nordgren, speaking at a press conference in Helsinki, said that Apple's lack of corporate security policies is a major weakness.

"Four out of ten users don't worry about corporate data and don't think it will leak. Take Siri, it's cute right, I like it but if you ask it a question, the data is not stored on the iPhone -- it goes to a datacentre in Oregon," she said.

Siri takes the voice data and uploads it to Apple's datacenters for processing. The data is converted into text and the query is returned back to the device. This happens in a few seconds depending on network speed.

Nordgren warned of hackers accessing Siri data. Because the assistant can be used to search the Web, access your contacts, and other personal information, the data can be used to build up a wider picture of its user.

However, Apple's ability to access secret corporate data of a rival or competitor puts the risk factor even higher.

"If anyone was interested in that information you're screwed," she said.

It follows Apple's announcement at WWDC that the next-generation mobile operating system iOS 6 will bring Siri to the iPad --- a tablet favoured by businesses and enterprise customers.

Earlier this year, IBM banned Siri on its corporate network citing reasons that Apple and others could potentially snoop on its customers' and employees' requests and inadvertently let industrial secrets out into the wild. The computing giant has a developed bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy and still allows iPhones and iPads, but the assistant caused headaches in IBM's information security section.

Apple doesn't explain exactly who can access Siri data, how long it stores the data for, or if Apple staff could access the data and under what controls.

Apple could not be reached at the time of writing.

Image credit: CNET. Article source: V3.co.uk.

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Topics: Operating Systems

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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