[AI] iPhone, Apple PCs vulnerable to hackers-consultant

Rakesh Kumar Gupta rkgd1964 at yahoo.co.in
Tue Jul 24 18:18:39 EDT 2007


iPhone, Apple PCs vulnerable to hackers-consultant
providers/reuters

By Reuters
Tuesday July 24, 10:20 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The iPhone and Apple Inc.'s desktop computers may be 
vulnerable to hackers due to a flaw in their Web browser, according to a 
security
firm, which said it found a way to hack into the iPhone.

Baltimore-based Independent Security Evaluators, which tests its clients' 
computer security by hacking it, said on Monday that three employees found a 
way
to take control of iPhones through a Wi-Fi link or by tricking users into 
going to a Web site.

Charles Miller, principal security analyst at the firm, said a security 
weakness allows someone to take control of Apple's Safari Web browser and 
see other
applications on the device at the same time, which could potentially make 
users of Macintosh desktop computers vulnerable to attacks.

"The same problem actually exists on Apple's desktops," said Miller. But he 
added that while his firm had identified the risk for both desktops and 
phones,
it had written only the code necessary to hack into the iPhone.

The security consultants, who took about a week and a half to work out the 
move, said they were able to take control of an iPhone and make calls or 
send
text messages, as well as access e-mails, voice-mail, address books and call 
and Web browsing history.

Miller said his company gave details about the hack and a potential security 
patch to Apple, but did not publicly release the details.

"We're looking into the report submitted by (Integrated Security Evaluators) 
and we always welcome feedback on how to improve our security," Apple 
spokeswoman
Lynn Fox said.

Miller said Apple could have avoided the risk by eliminating links between 
the browser and other applications.

"It turns out that on the iPhone there are probably some basic things they 
could have done that would have made it better," said Miller.

The claim comes more than three weeks after Apple and AT&T Inc. started 
selling Apple's first cell phone, which includes a music and video player as 
well
as a Web browser.

As many as 700,000 iPhones were sold on the first weekend after the June 29 
launch, according to analyst estimates.

Days after launch, a well-known hacker Jon Johansen, claimed to have 
overcome restrictions on the iPhone, allowing highly technical users to 
bypass AT&T's
network to use the phone's Internet and music features.

While cell phones have not historically been as vulnerable to attack as 
desktop computers, some experts worry that phones take on greater risks as 
they
add more computer-like features.

Miller said he had not looked into security on other mobile phones to see 
how they compare to the iPhone, but said the more complex a system is, the 
greater
the likelihood is that it will have problems.
______________
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Rakesh Kumar Gupta
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