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  (Source: Attack of the Show)

A gaping hole in the iPhone 3G S's beefed up security, allows a packet of code to be fired into it via SMS and compromise the entire system. Apple says that it will fix the major flaw by the end of July.  (Source: AppleIPhoneReview)
IPhone SMS vulnerability could allow malicious users to install and execute malware

Recently, Apple has struggled with the security ramifications of a higher commercial profile, and seeing an increasing number of OS X malware.  Now another security flaw has been found, this time in the iPhone OS.  The flaw allows attackers to gain root access to the iPhone's underlying OS, allowing them to install and execute malicious programs at will.

The iPhone apparently automatically executes binary code sent in SMS messages.  Messages are limited to 140 bytes, but this is little deterrence as longer programs can be broken up into several messages, which the phone automatically reassembles.  While other applications such as the Safari browser on the phone only enjoy access to their sandbox, the SMS system is automatically granted root access, and SMS commands execute as root.

Charlie Miller, during a presentation at the SyScan conference in Singapore on Thursday introduced the vulnerability to the public.  He declined to go into specific details or offer his proof-of-concept code to the public, as he has entered under an agreement with Apple.  Mr. Miller did state, "SMS is a great vector to attack the iPhone."

He went on to describe several examples of how such an attack could prove beneficial to malicious parties.  Among his ideas were to use the phone's GPS technology to track people, to turn on the phone's microphone to snoop on meetings or conversations, and to use groups of the infected phones to form a botnet and launch distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Apple will have a fix ready by the end July, it says.  Mr. Miller says he will hold off on releasing details of his attack until then.  He will present the attack in its full glory at the Black Hat USA 2009 conference in Las Vegas.  Mr. Miller is the author of The Mac Hacker's Handbook, one of the leading resources for prospective Apple hackers.

He praises Apple's efforts with the iPhone saying that the stripped down version of OS X provides less attack opportunities.  He says that lack of support for Adobe Flash and Java while an annoyance to users actually aid security, as these are traditional attack vectors.  He also notes the phone's provisions to only run Apple-signed code and to provide hardware encryption as other promising features.  

Many of these features were added in the new iPhone 3G S, but were not present in the iPhone 3G leading the iPhone 3G to receive failing marks in a recent security study.  Mr. Miller concludes, "The iPhone is more secure than OS X, but SMS could be a critical vulnerability."

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RE: fsardis and his iDick debacle
By fsardis on 7/3/2009 5:56:03 AM , Rating: 1
i am doing PhD in network protocols not network security you fuckwit. even so, it is unrelated to software programming for mac. i am not trying to make pretty interfaces for utterly useless software that does not even allow you to switch between windows of the same application if they are hidden behind others. such ease of use. i have to drag the focus window out of the way to reveal the window i want. there is no representation of how many windows i have open from a single app unless i use expose. i would say it is far worse than the simplicity and functionality of the windows task bar. at least with the task bar i an click to any windows i want from any application whether it is visible or not.

go back to your screwdrivers, you called a 9600 high end, and you said the code makes the cpu overheat. how could anyone be dumber than you? by the way, the office here would like more insight on how the code from one company can make the cpu overheat but code from the other makes it stay cool (which it does not)

oh you still don't know what native apps are eh? don't worry, for the job you have, you will never need to know. all your feeble mind need to know is how to use a screwdriver and change out parts. come argue again when you are a computer scientist and not a computer tech. and since you like car analogies, come back when you are a mechanical engineer and not a grease monkey changing oil and cleaning oil filters.

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