Vulnerabilities / Threats

7/7/2009
03:11 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Apple's iPhone Vulnerable To Hotspot Hijacking

The new iPhone 3.0 software automatically launches the Safari browser in certain circumstances, a feature that makes the iPhone more usable and less secure.

Apple's attention to usability appears to have left its iPhone vulnerable to Wi-Fi hotspot hijacking.

In a blog post, Max Moser, co-founder of the remote-exploit.org security group, describes how a feature in Apple's iPhone 3.0 software aims to make the iPhone more user-friendly and ends up making it less secure.

Version 3.0 of the iPhone software, according to Moser, is designed to automatically open a browser when trying to join a Wi-Fi network.

An iPhone running the 3.0 software issues a DNS request for Apple's Web site and a request for a specific Web page. If its queries prove successful, it assumes network connectivity is okay. If it receives no response, it assumes there's no network available.

But if it receives a response from a site other than Apple's, it assumes the user is trying to access the network through a portal that requires authentication, as is often found at hotels or public Wi-Fi hotspots. To help users complete the authentication process, the iPhone software automatically opens Apple's Safari browser.

"It seems like Apple was thinking, 'Damn, that's annoying for the user...lets open up Safari automatically if this special case comes into place,'" Moser says.

That behavior, however, offers an opportunity for exploitation, as first noted by security researcher Lothar Gramelspacher.

Using penetration testing software called karmetasploit and the appropriate network hardware, an attacker can set up his or her own Wi-Fi hotspot. When an iPhone user tries to join this malicious Wi-Fi network, the attacker can capture iPhone cookies, account information, and perhaps more, depending on whether other vulnerabilities in Safari or other iPhone software can be exploited.

Moser has posted a video showing how the attack works.

It should be said that a malicious network represents a risk to any connecting device. The iPhone's automatic browser launch, however, does serve to magnify that risk.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
3 Ways to Retain Security Operations Staff
Oliver Rochford, Vice President of Security Evangelism at DFLabs,  11/20/2017
A Call for Greater Regulation of Digital Currencies
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  11/21/2017
New OWASP Top 10 List Includes Three New Web Vulns
Jai Vijayan, Freelance writer,  11/21/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Managing Cyber-Risk
An online breach could have a huge impact on your organization. Here are some strategies for measuring and managing that risk.
Flash Poll
The State of Ransomware
The State of Ransomware
Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent new cybersecurity threats faced by today's enterprises. This new report from Dark Reading includes feedback from IT and IT security professionals about their organization's ransomware experiences, defense plans, and malware challenges. Find out what they had to say!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.