Every iPhone can be hacked by a single text message

Hackers can take control of any iPhone, by sending a simple text message containing a square symbol.

Apple has known for "over a month" that its customers are at risk, but has not fixed the problem. They can no longer ignore their responsibility with all of the media attention today. Apple and its expensive brands are all about marketing PR.

This major security flaw in Apple's software was demonstrated last night by the researchers who first discovered it, in a desperate attempt to shame Apple into releasing a patch. It's the latest in a long series of vulnerabilities which put iPhone users at risk. Apple's PR machine has tried to deflect criticism by listing the phone's security features, but experts say they've never before seen encryption implemented so poorly.

My advice to the average consumer is to be cautious about exposing data that you want to keep secure to any electronic device.

31 July 2009

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Bradley Wright (31 Jul 09, 10:35)

Conveniently in your ill-informed tirade about Apple's "expensive brands", you managed to avoid quoting this piece from the exact same article you linked:

> Miller and Mulliner also claim to have discovered other
> SMS-based attacks that can be used to take control of
> Windows Mobile devices, and another text attack that
> lets them knock iPhones and Google Android phones
> off their wireless network. Google says it has patched
> the security flaw in Android since being informed of it.

So not just Apple then.

Tim Acheson (31 Jul 09, 11:13)

I do understand Bradley's point of view. I expect many others will feel the same way. Many of us are loyal customer of Apple products, or even fans of the brand.

However, the information presented above is not "ill informed". All of the facts in my article are accurate. Furthermore, this is a major news story with international scope, and the key facts can be readily verified by consulting numerous credible alternative sources.

I don't think anybody would suggest that Apple is the only company with security flaws in its products. However, this page, and this morning's headlines, are about this flaw in the iPhone. You mentioned Android, and I'm aware of the security issues there. But I know a lot more people with iPhones, which isn't surprising because I've seen a lot more marketing material and PR for the iPhone too. Moreover, my particular concern in this case is the apparent failure of Apple to take action to protect its customers. I still want to know when this serious loophole will be patched.

My blog post doesn't "conveniently" avoid discussing rival products which may have been affected by security issues. (No more than your reply conveniently attempts to deflect attention away from the sacred iPhone by bringing other mobile devices into the conversation.) These are separate discussions.

Some Apple-lovers may feel betrayed, while others may feel defensive. It's a cliché, but true, that love is blind.

Tim Acheson (04 Aug 09, 10:03)

Details of the patch.

Tim Acheson (05 Nov 09, 16:43)

Update


You neglect to mention in how oh-so-expensive Apple products are that there is a degree of design engineering, customer support, and user experience/usability that sets it uniquely apart from the rest of mainstream consumer electronics. That cost is justified by how much you value the aforementioned characteristics and such quality comes with a cost, with resell value considerably higher than typical consumer electronics in the same league. Specs are not the only thing that matters -- it's the holistic marriage of the software and hardware, making the software easy and pleasant to use in an attractive package. In addition, Apple products are used not only by designers but also by software developers, IT professionals, students, architects, doctors, lawyers, politicians, the disabled/handicapped, and grandmothers. The audience runs the gamut. But, by all means, don't let these points spoil your bias.

Tim Acheson (17 May 11, 12:30)

@Hank

I don't dispute the quality of Apple's products. But there are alternatives available, as good or better, for the same price or indeed much cheaper -- and you clearly get much more choice when you don't restrict yourself to Apple. Even those who love Apple and do buy their products know it's actually crazy to buy their products and for instance choose much cheaper brands when replacing memory in a Macbook (apart from the most un-informed Apple fans who rely on advertising for their tech knowledge and thus continue to pay more than they need to).

The extra price on Apple products doesn't get spent all on quality or the manufacturing process -- it goes into the corporations huge profits and executive benefits packages.

Something rotten at Apple's core? Shocking toll of suicides at iPad factory in China revealed (Daily Mail)

Apple 'thrilled' as quarterly profits jump 70% (Guardian)

As for quality, the countless complaints speak for themselves, though you won't have heard about these in the propaganda: Apple: Awful-quality products (Complaints Board).

Apple's false and misleading advertising exposed: ASA Adjudication on Apple (UK) Ltd [complaint upheld] (ASA)

It's not just Apple's hardware that's overpriced. iTunes is always the most expensive way to download music.

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