Feeds

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

iPhones, iPads, iPod touches safe again

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
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.
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.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.