'Dangerous' iPhone exploit code goes public
Attackers may grab jailbreak hacks for evil uses; patch fast, say experts
Computerworld - Minutes after Apple issued a security update Wednesday, the maker of a 10-day-old jailbreak exploit released code that others could put to use hijacking iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads.
Apple patched the bugs earlier Wednesday.
The exploits that comex used to jailbreak the iOS could be used for other purposes, including delivering malicious payloads to grab control of iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches. All that would be necessary is for hackers to dupe users into visiting a malicious Web site or persuading them to click on a link in an e-mail or text message.
It may not be long before comex's work is turned into a weapon for attacks that gain "root" access, or complete control, of iPhones and iPads.
"@comex thanks, using it to make malicious s*** now," bragged someone identified as "MTWomg" on Twitter shortly after comex published the source code.
Noted Mac vulnerability researcher Dino Dai Zovi, co-author of The Mac Hackers Handbook, chimed in with a warning of his own. "Now that @comex released his jailbreak source, any bets on how long before it is ported to Metasploit?" Dai Zovi tweeted Wednesday.
Metasploit is the open-source penetration testing framework that some use as a hacking toolkit.
Apple did not patch 2007's first-generation iPhone or iPod Touch yesterday, delivering the update only to the iPhone 3G or later devices running the iOS 2.0 or later, and to the second-generation iPod Touch or later running iOS 2.1 or later. Lacking patches, the early models may be vulnerable to attack.
Also possibly at risk: Mac OS X. Like iOS, Apple's desktop operating system includes the FreeType font engine, which may be vulnerable to the same or a similar exploit.
And users who have used comex's code to jailbreak their iPhones have a decision to make. If they accept Wednesday's update, they lose the ability to install and run software not approved by Apple. But by ignoring the update, they may be victimized by future attacks based on the public code.
Security experts urged everyone, jailbreakers included, to apply the update.
"We recommend that all iOS users, including those who have jailbroken their devices, would install the latest update now," Hypponen said in a blog post Wednesday.
Users can download the iOS update by connecting their iPhones, iPod Touches or iPads to their PCs or Macs, running iTunes, clicking on the device in the listing on the left and then clicking the "Check for Update" button.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is email@example.com.
Read more about Macintosh in Computerworld's Macintosh Topic Center.
- Best iPhone, iPad Business Apps for 2014
- 14 Tech Conventions You Should Attend in 2014
- 10 Desktop Apps to Power Your Windows PC
- How to Add New Job Skills Without Going Back to School
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- Review: Box beats Dropbox - and all the rest - for business Box trumps Dropbox, Engyte, Citrix ShareFile, EMC Syncplicity, and OwnCloud with rich mix of file sync, file sharing, user management, deep reporting and...
- Analyst Report-Mixed All Flash Arrays Delivers Safer Higher Performance What is the impact of an all-flash array with enterprise features and reliability on the mainstream data center? In the mainstream environment, storage...
- Embracing Flash Storage Exec Brief Flash storage can deliver impressive performance, especially for random I/O, by eliminating rotational and seek latencies that are common in all hard disk...
- Embracing Tiered Storage Exec Brief All data is not created equal and thus all data need not be treated the same by the storage system. IT executives must...
- Four Myths of High-Productivity App Dev Debunked Debunk the main myths surrounding high-productivity application development and how both platforms have overcome them.
On-Demand Webcast: 7 Reasons to Choose VoIP
Thinking about a new phone system for your business?
Be sure to watch this informative webcast. Steve Strauss, small business columnist for USA...
All Macintosh White Papers |