HP TouchPad Frenzy — Another Reason to Put Security in Context

Marc Maiffret, August 26th, 2011

I recently watched IT administrator mailing lists buzzing with conversations about where everyone could buy an HP TouchPad – with the almost free price, now that HP has discontinued the product. It was not only IT people looking to cash in on the sweet deal, but consumers also, which means employees (maybe at your company!), who up until now might not have had a tablet.

Now for $99 dollars, HP is offering a tablet that you can be sure is hooking up to corporate email and accessing corporate documents. We’re talking about a device with seemingly no future of security maintenance at all.

When I see people rushing to buy TouchPads and put the security of that into context, I think this is a great time to discover vulnerabilities that could compromise TouchPads. It already takes companies like Microsoft and Oracle extremely long periods of time to fix vulnerabilities in their software. Surely, weaknesses found in the TouchPad will be good for quite some time, regardless of whether or not HP plans to maintain webOS (the OS that TouchPad runs) for things such as PCs and printers.

Times like these always remind me to continue to push past the obvious and put things in context. I’m not just talking about security. Cases like this go beyond the security implications of thousands of new TouchPad devices potentially putting corporate information at risk. It makes me think that we are losing, or maybe have completely lost, a great mobile OS and much needed competition in a mobile market dominated by Apple. Funny how the tables turn in technology. Remember when they used to make fun of Microsoft for the same kind of mind and market domination?