Risk
2/11/2011
10:39 AM
George V. Hulme
George V. Hulme
Commentary
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Think That iPhone Isn't A Corporate Security Risk?

If so, you had better think again. Researchers have shown how the passwords on the iPhone can be revealed in less than six minutes.

If so, you had better think again. Researchers have shown how the passwords on the iPhone can be revealed in less than six minutes.Security managers and CIOs alike have enough to worry about when it comes to securing mobile devices. They certainly didn't need to learn that many of the passwords stored on an iPhone can be had in about half the time it takes to hard boil an egg.

But that's exactly what researchers in Germany just disclosed, and it's raising eyebrows. The cracking technique requires attackers have physical access to the device. Considering how many mobile devices are lost every year, that's not much consolation in this case.

These researchers conducted their attack against an iPhone 4 (not jailbroken) equipped with the most recent firmware. iPads are susceptible, too. Researchers said. The passwords recovered are those used for wifi networks, some applications (depending on how they were programmed) as well as the password credentials to e-mail and VPNs.

Here's a video demonstration:

The tools and techniques needed to conduct the necessary jailbreak and file access are widely available. What this team did was figure out how to extract the actual passwords.

The researchers' full paper, Lost iPhone? Lost Passwords! Practical Consideration of iOS Device Encryption Security is available here in .pdf format.

For my security and technology observations throughout the day, find me on Twitter.

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The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

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