Feeds

Jesus Phone vuln delivers fanboys to phishermen

Apple silent on 'pretty dumb design flaw'

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

A security expert is advising iPhone users to steer clear of the device's default email application until engineers rework what he calls "a pretty dumb design flaw" that could expose users' email addresses to spammers and other online frauds.

The warning comes two and months after researcher Aviv Raff first reported two email-related vulnerabilities in the iPhone to Apple's security department. Apple has updated the gadget three times since then, but has yet to fix either weakness. Late last week, after Apple refused to say when the patches might be delivered, Raff decided to publicly disclose the technical details.

The first defect resides in Apple's Mail application. Unlike most email clients, the program automatically downloads images embedded in HTML mail messages. That can be a problem for people who want to fly under the radar of spammers because the downloading of so-called beacon images embedded in spam and phishing messages are one technique scammers use to sort live email accounts from inactive ones.

"The iPhone's Mail application downloads all images automatically, and there is NO WAY to disable this feature!" Raff writes in this blog item. "So, my only suggestion is to avoid using the Mail application until a fix is available."

Raff disclosed details of a separate iPhone flaw that puts users at risk of visiting websites secretly under the control of miscreants. The flaw, which resides in Mail and the iPhone version of the Safari browser, truncates the names of long internet addresses, making it them appear to be friendly when in fact they are not.

Image of iPhone showing truncated address

In the screenshot above, for example, the link appears to point to https://securelogin.facebook.com/reset.php?cc=534a556abd1006&tt=1212620963 when in fact, it points to a site controlled by Raff. When a user clicks on the link, Safari opens and the address bar shows only https://securelogin.facebook.com/reset.php?cc=534a556abd1006&tt=1212620963, further making it hard for users to know they've been led astray.

"The problem here is that an attacker can set a long subdomain (~24 characters) that, when cut off in the middle, will look as if it's a trusted domain," Raff wrote.

Apple representatives didn't respond to an email requesting comment for this story. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
One HUNDRED FAMOUS LADIES exposed NUDE online
Celebrity women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
Rubbish WPS config sees WiFi router keys popped in seconds
Another day, another way in to your home router
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NZ Justice Minister scalped as hacker leaks emails
Grab your popcorn: Subterfuge and slur disrupts election run up
HP: NORKS' cyber spying efforts actually a credible cyberthreat
'Sophisticated' spies, DIY tech and a TROLL ARMY – report
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?