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

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.


Topic: Operating Systems

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  • Hope Apple has answers for all these

    No doubt Siri is an innovative technology but their is a serious security concerns listed in this article, hope Apple has answers for all these. Would be interesting to follow their comments or reactions on these.

    - Sara
    • You're kidding right???

      You must be new to this whole thing Sara. This is apple we're talking about which is not a company best known for "promptness", admitting anything or even commenting at all within a short span of time. Clearly shown by the all-too-well-known "Apple could not be reached at the time of writing".
      • No point to converse with a robot

        This account posts links to their own web site with generic comments.
    • What?

      Siri? Innovative? Do you really believe that? Apple bought Siri - and it was their second choice.
    • Errr.....

      If Apple ever sees comments like these, don't bother getting any response for months or longer. Apple's PR probably take a few months to figure out a response, have a committee go through that and remove some of the nastyness and then send it to the lawyers. If the lawyers approve it, it get sent back to the PR to send out. If not, the PR rewiters it [from scratch] and the process starts again. :-)
    • How is Siri any different from any other search engine?

      Google, Yahoo!, even Bing all send your query to a stored database of information which Google has already proven can be used to "personalize" your advertising. I really don't see how Siri is any different.
      • Other search engines ...

        don't drill into my contacts and other information in order to do it's job. The Siri app has it's fingers in every corner of your phone.
      • And Google doesn't?

        Methinks thou doth assume too much. Gmail, in particular, goes so far as to plug advertisements into your private emails. Gmail is, as if you didn't already know, Google Mail and Google's search engine mines your emails just like it mines your searches.
      • Siri is mobile

        One example of the difference would be it's having a link to your GPS. If Apple knows your employer, and if a lot of your people are using Siri, a fairly simple GIS program could identify client locations, and plot frequency of visits to potential customers.
  • Yeah but,

    After the first month with the phone, does anyone really use Siri?
    • Yes

      Only Samuel Jackson. But he's getting paid to.
    • Yes

      Siri is the primary means I use to set timers when I cook, create alarms, text and create reminders. All of those actions are faster, for me, with Siri, than before Siri.

      I use it every day.
      • That's a lot of reminders...

        do you have a condition that affects your memory?
      • .

        he can't remember
      • That's a lot of reminders...

        @kris_stapley, Maybe dhmccoy just has a condition whereby he uses tools to perform menial tasks, such as reminders, etc. Use of tools is what differentiates humans from other species of animals. Maybe you just aren't far enough along the evolutionary path that you're up to using tools, like the rest of us.
      • A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

        An expensive Swiss army Knife, but you do get a phone with it.

      Why are people still buying this Apple crap? MS Tell Me on my Windows phone actually makes me more productive where SIRI is a cute little toy for little boys and girls. Thumbs down
      • Toy

        Yes my kids love to ask it what its favorite color is....other than that it has been almost completely useless for me.
      • Siri is no toy

        [i]MS Tell Me[/i] is almost useless in my experience. The YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHoukZpMhDE reflects my experience with the two systems.

        In my case, I'm still buying Apple iPhones because they are extremely helpful. It's great that you can add a calendar entry, dial or answer a phone call, make notes, send an SMS or email, or play a song just by pressing the button on the headphone wire and speaking.

        I also like the way you can avoid most typing by using voice recognition in [i]any app that uses the keyboard[/i].

        The iPhone is not "Apple crap." It's a really nice, small phone with a great HD video and still camera.

        [i]Rob.sharp: SIRI is a cute little toy for little boys and girls[/i]

        I've explained why I like Siri, in particular, and iPhones generally. Siri is a really helpful feature that I've been using regularly since I bought my iPhone 4S about six months ago.

        Parroting the usual anti-Apple slur about their products being "toys" makes you sound like an idiot - not someone with a reasoned opinion.
    • Reading between the lines

      This is just a bit of whining and I scratch my head in complete bewilderment of why on Earth they've been so silent about the #1 virus-magnet in IT history, Windows, in corporate offices.
      Apple, their gadgets and customers are pretty bad business for F-Secure and other so called security vendors and will most likely continue to be that. :D