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Apple fixes iOS passcode-bypass hack with 6.1.3 update

New code should be big in Japan

Seven Steps to Software Security

It has taken Apple a little over a month and two updates to do it, but the latest iOS 6.1.3 update means your beloved iDevice can now be safe again from nimble-fingered thieves.

In February, an iPhone user discovered that a certain pattern of swipes and key presses would allow the password locking screen to be bypassed on devices running iOS 6.1 or higher. The hack disabled the Home button, so the attacker could get access to, export and/or call all contacts and voicemails.

Apple promised a patch for the problem after the news went public, but iOS 6.1.2 confined itself to fixing a battery-draining bug in the calendar app, which caused the device to constantly sync with Microsoft Exchange servers if a user changed a recurring event like a weekly meeting.

Although Apple hasn't released full details of the 6.1.3 update's contents, beta code distributed to developers also showed that Cupertino's much-derided Maps is getting an update, primarily for Japan.

Enhancements include better toll-road mapping, improved pronunciation in local language, turn-by-turn navigation and new 3D buildings including Tokyo Station, Japan Imperial Palace, and Tokyo Tower.

What the update will do for jailbreakers is another matter: Apple's last 6.1.2 update appears to have closed one of the holes used to evade Cupertino's controls and there's no word yet from the Evasi0n crew who broke iOS 6.0 in February, although they are probably in testing already. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

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