Feeds

Apple security update leaves iPhone 3G users unprotected

Security FAIL

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

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. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Attackers raid SWISS BANKS with DNS and malware bombs
'Retefe' trojan uses clever spin on old attacks to grant total control of bank accounts
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.