Feeds

Apple security update leaves iPhone 3G users unprotected

Security FAIL

Website security in corporate America

Apple is leaving some of its older mobile devices unprotected with its latest patch batch.

An iOS 4.3 update, which includes a number of critical security fixes, is incompatible with the still widely used iPhone 3G and older versions of the iPod Touch. The latest version of Apple's mobile software can only be applied on the iPhone 3GSs and later models; the iPod Touch 3rd generation and later models; as well as all versions of the iPad.

Security fixes bundled with the release include protection against the risk posed by maliciously-crafted TIFF image files and security fixes against multiple memory corruption issues in WebKit, the engine behind the Safari browser.

Security firm Sophos warns that the omission of the fixes leaves users of older iPhone and IPod Touches at heightened risk of drive-by download attacks from booby-trapped websites. The latest version of the OS includes tethering functionality and the ability to stream music between devices across home wireless networks, among other functionality improvements.

"There might be a hardware reason why the latest version of the software can't be run on older devices," a Sophos spokesman explained. "Even so, Apple could still release an update for Safari for older devices, the most problematic omission.

"Apple should still produce patches, otherwise security conscious people would have to upgrade."

The handful of malware strains to have infected iPhone devices thus far have only infected jailbroken devices. Although it hasn't yet happened, mobile malware spreading via browser vulnerabilities is a potential threat, Sophos argues.

In related news, Apple also released a new version of its Safari browser for desktops on Wednesday. Safari version 5.0.4 covers a total of 62 security vulnerabilities. Both Windows and Mac users need to update their software.

The vast majority (57 of the 62, by Sophos's count) of the security bugs tackled by the update lend themselves to exploitation simply by tricking a surfer who is running vulnerable versions of the software into visiting a maliciously constructed website, a favourite hacker trick. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
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?
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.