Feeds

iOS jailbreak howdunnit partially solved

PDF exploit framed for jailbreak

SANS - Survey on application security programs

Updated The iOS 4 drive-by jailbreak released over the weekend uses a PDF exploit to weave its magic, according to an analysis by security researchers.

The hack, developed by the iPhone Dev Team and available via jailbreakme.com, can be run directly on a device running iOS 4. Earlier tools required a software download that was run via a computer paired with a targeted device - a far more convoluted route. The latest hack allows iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches running iOS 4 and iOS 4.01 to be jailbroken, after which users can install unapproved apps.

The payload on jailbreakme.com includes 20 PDF files tuned for various combinations of hardware and software. The files contain exploit code that circumvents Apple's security protections, likely using CoreGraphics/PDF related vulnerabilities. Apple has been obliged to patch iOS Core Graphics bugs four times in the past, F-Secure reports.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure, explained that the vulnerability stems from how mobile version of Safari handle PDF files and arises from a security bug in Apple's software.

"By default, there's no separate PDF viewer on an iPhone. Instead, PDF viewing is built into the Safari browser," Hypponen told El Reg. "The attack uses a corrupted font placed inside a PDF file to crash the Compact Font Format (CFF) handler."

"This is not an Adobe bug. It's an Apple bug," he added.

Analysis of the flaw is ongoing.

"It's unclear whether this has any implications on other platforms," Hypponen writes. "These files crash some PDF Readers on Windows, but that seems to be it."

F-Secure found that PDF files crashed both Adobe Reader and Foxit. The Finnish net security firm notes that the vulnerability used to jailbreak a device on one site might also be used for malicious drive-by exploits.

"While these files are not being used maliciously, an exploit is an exploit, and we'll add detections until we know more about the vulnerability," F-Secure adds.

The ease of jailbreaking iOS 4 devices using jailbreakme.com is illustrated by attempts to run the tool under the noses of Apple staff in one Apple Store, as shown in a picture here.

Naughty. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
This time it's 'Personal': new Office 365 sub covers just two devices
Redmond also brings Office into Google's back yard
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
Half of Twitter's 'active users' are SILENT STALKERS
Nearly 50% have NEVER tweeted a word
Internet-of-stuff startup dumps NoSQL for ... SQL?
NoSQL taste great at first but lacks proper nutrients, says startup cloud whiz
IRS boss on XP migration: 'Classic fix the airplane while you're flying it attempt'
Plus: Condoleezza Rice at Dropbox 'maybe she can find ... weapons of mass destruction'
Ditch the sync, paddle in the Streem: Upstart offers syncless sharing
Upload, delete and carry on sharing afterwards?
New Facebook phone app allows you to stalk your mates
Nearby Friends feature goes live in a few weeks
Microsoft TIER SMEAR changes app prices whether devs ask or not
Some go up, some go down, Redmond goes silent
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.