In the world of mobile malware, Android is the biggest target for malicious hackers. Nobody ever thinks of iOS as a target for hackers because the review process for the Apple App Store keeps most insidious apps on the outside, looking in. That does not mean that iPhones and iPads do not need some type of security layer for data loss, missing devices and kernel management.

Mobile security company Lookout has released one of the first apps dedicated to iOS. Lookout Mobile Security for iPhone was released today to match the company's Android offerings except for one important difference - it does not detect and remove malware. The way Lookout sees it, for iOS, it does not need to.

The Android version of Lookout will scan every application in a user's phone at least once a week. It also scans apps as they are downloaded from the Android Market. Lookout even turns security around and provides APIs for the actual app stores. The company provides an end-to-end solution for mobile security.

Except for iOS, until now.

Lookout has been working on iOS security for more than two years. It was not until Apple tied the iOS to the cloud with iOS 4 that the company could institute its application on the system. Everything that Lookout does is in the cloud - almost nothing runs on the device itself.

There are three main functions for Lookout for iPhone:

  • System Administration & Security
  • Backup
  • Find Device

The find device aspect is pretty straightforward and no different from the Android offering. Users can look up the location of their phones through their Lookout account and send a ping to it. Users can have multiple devices on a Lookout account, so if you lose your iPad, Android and Honeycomb tablet at the same time, they will all appear in your Lookout account.

The backup feature is intuitive. It not only saves the data on the device, including apps and pictures, but also contacts that can be synced across devices. Lookout CTO and co-founder Kevin Mahaffey and I joked yesterday that neither of us remember our mothers' cellphone numbers because it is just in the contact list. Yet, anybody that has switched phones and cannot access their contacts list knows that losing numbers is a frustrating experience. No need to have the carrier retail store transfer your contacts, Lookout saves them in their cloud.

The security layer of Lookout for iPhone is as simple as it gets. It has a system advisor that tells users when they need to update iOS (most of iOS security is baked in from Apple) and alerts users when they are on an unsecure Wi-Fi network. It also points users at the location settings for applications on the device so they know what apps are tracking them, where and why.

Lookout has created an app that is as simple as the iPhone. It is lightweight, easy to use and works. In terms of malware, Lookout can add its Android-style virus detector if iOS is ever drowned in malware. At this point, it just does not need to.