Feeds

Apple kills browse-and-get-hacked bugs in iOS

iPhones, iPads, iPod touches safe again

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Updated Apple has patched a critical iOS  vulnerability that allows attackers to install malicious apps on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches by doing nothing more than luring victims to a booby-trapped website or sending them a tainted email.

The update plugs a hole in Apple-designed document-viewing software that allows attackers to inject code of their choosing into PDF files. By default, all three devices open the documents automatically when they are encountered in emails or on websites, leading to a classic browse-and-get-hacked exploit. The Foxit document reader was vulnerable to the same flaw, until it was patched last week. Adobe has said its Reader application is unaffected.

A second vulnerability in iOS allows attackers to break out of the iOS security sandbox and access to the OS's root account, which has unfettered access to the device.

The vulnerabilities have been exploited for weeks on Jailbreakme.com, a website that allows people to jailbreak their devices by flicking a slider on the home page. There has been nothing stopping people from carrying out more malicious attacks, but so far there are no known reports of that happening.

In addition to patching the PDF flaw in iOS, Apple has also bolstered its sandbox by nixing an integer overflow in the handling of what's known as IOSurface properties. The whole point of the design is to mitigate the severity of buffer overflows and other garden-variety software bugs by containing application processes inside protected walls that can't access sensitive parts of the OS.

There's no word of an accompanying update for Mac OS X. It remains unclear if that OS is unaffected or Apple hasn't gotten around to issuing a fix yet.

Screen capture of iOS downloads

This might take a while

Apple's advisory suggests that users install the patch immediately, but it may make sense to wait until there's an ample amount of bandwidth available. The iPad update is a whopping 456.9MB in size and the iPhone download is 378MB. ®

This article was updated to correct erroneous information about the status of the sandbox patch.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
SHELLSHOCKED: Fortune 1000 outfits Bash out batches of patches
CloudPassage points to 'pervasive' threat of Bash bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.