Apple iPhones, iPads get intrusion-detection and prevention from start-up

Start-up Skycure today makes its debut with what's described as intrusion-detection and prevention package for mobile devices. The IDS/IPS from Skycure initially supports Apple iOS iPhones and iPads, with Android anticipated for a later date.

Skycure says this IDS/IPS for Apple iOS works by installing agent software on the device, which interacts with the Skycure cloud service for security purposes. Yair Amit, co-founder and chief technology officer at Skycure, says the goal is to prevent and mitigate any impact from attackers exploiting configuration profiles on mobile devices.

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"An attacker, in the wild, can configure the device to route all your traffic to their servers," Amit says. This could mean a compromise of information the user shares with everything from Facebook to bank accounts to e-mail and more.

Amit calls it a "design flaw" in iOS that results in "malicious configurations" that aren't necessarily protected by mobile-device management software. He adds this type of exploit of mobile devices would be most likely to occur when using WiFi networks, particularly in public locations, where man-in-the-middle attacks are fairly common.

Both of Skycure's  co-founders were previously with IBM and Watchfire, the vulnerability-assessment firm acquired by IBM in 2007. Adi Sharabani, Skycure's CEO, was in the security strategy and architecture group at IBM Software, and manager of the security and research group at Watchfire. Amit was previously manager of the applications security and research group at IBM and lead researcher at Watchfire. Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Skycure has received about $3 million in venture-capital funding from Pitango Venture Capital and angel investors.

Skycure's software combined with its cloud service is intended to dynamically identify any attacks on the mobile devices and take certain steps to mitigate against them. One way is setting up a VPN back to the Skycure cloud to cut off the attacker's route, or to a VPN site designated by the enterprise customer. Skycure is seeking to use behavioral analysis to detect attacks, without causing a device slowdown.

Skycure's service is priced per device at between $5 to $10 per month.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail:

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