Mobility

Mobile security for iOS: Getting better with CM Security, but slowly

Popular Android security suite CM Security just migrated to iOS, but it isn't very full-featured, and iTunes is full of imposters.

Image: screenshot/Cheetahmobile.com

Cheetah Mobile's CM Security on Android is chock-full of ways to lock down your personal data. The new iOS version isn't nearly as robust, but Android-equivalent features are promised for the coming months.

SEE: A roundup of cybersecurity predictions for 2016 (Tech Pro Research)

If you're like most people in the modern world you're storing a lot of personal secrets and data in your pocket. The idea of your device falling into someone else's hands is terrifying—you might have a fingerprint protection, a pin, or a pattern code, but are those really going to stop someone determined to get your personal data?

There's also the growing malware concern on mobile devices—one that affects both iPhones and Android devices alike. CM Security for Android has been incredibly well received and offers a whole slew of great features: it secures photos, locks down apps, scans for malware, and even takes photos of people who enter incorrect passwords.

If you're hoping that the new CM Security for iOS is going to give you some of these same security features then you're out of luck, at least for now. The app has launched solely as a photo vault, and while that can be a great way to protect your most valuable (or private) personal data it's not going to keep your other private data secure.

SEE: Supermassive black hole: A new way to secure mobile devices (TechRepublic)

There's one more serious problem with the iOS version of CM Security: as of this writing there are four apps in iTunes that have the same logo and title as the real CM Security app. If you plan on downloading the real one then downloader beware: make sure the one you're installing is called "CM Security - Private photo vault (cmcm)" and that it's published by Cheetah Mobile. It's probably not a good idea to find out what the others may do to your iPhone.

Kicking the tires

CM Security's iOS app is easy to use and responded well to my testing. I was able to easily move photos from my stream and into the secure storage, and the app prompted me to delete the originals from my photostream after copying as well. If you spend a lot of time snapping work pictures on your cellphone then you'll be pleased at how simple it is to secure valuable work.

One of the features that the app description boasts about is facial recognition that (should) help you make the right decisions on what photos to protect. Testing this feature, however, found that it was less than perfect: photos of whiskey bottles and Star Wars symbols showed up as well.

Don't let this scare you away from using CM Security, though. The team says they're planning on adding secure browsing that times out after a certain amount of idle time (and also closes the page/deletes history) in the next couple of weeks. They're going to continually add features based on feedback from users and ongoing development, making early adoption your chance at getting the features you want on iOS.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  • CM Security for iOS might be in its infancy, but it will be more useful as time goes on. If the iOS efforts of Cheetah Mobile are in any way comparable to its Android results then the future of CM Security is likely to be a good one.
  • Be careful if you choose to download it—iTunes hasn't filtered out imposters yet. With any security app like this there's the fear of downloading malware, and your chances are high here.
  • Malware, data security, and device theft are all real concerns for business professionals. Make sure you're spending time on mobile security—things aren't going to get safer without your help.

Also see:

An insider's look at iOS security (TechRepublic)

For privacy and security, change these iOS 9 settings right now (ZDNet)

A troubling trajectory of malware and ransomware targeting OS X and iOS (TechRepublic)

iOS malware AceDeceiver can infect non-jailbroken Apple devices (ZDNet)

Your smartphone could be hacked without your knowledge (CNBC)

About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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