Feeds

Jesus Phone vuln delivers fanboys to phishermen

Apple silent on 'pretty dumb design flaw'

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
FBI boss: We don't want a backdoor, we want the front door to phones
Claims it's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted – catching killers and pedos
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
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.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.