Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

8/3/2010
07:30 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

iPhone Jailbreak Worries Security Experts

Security firms are expressing concern that the first Web-based "jailbreak" for the iOS devices relies on two security vulnerabilities.

The recent arrival of a Web-based way to install software not approved by Apple on the iPhone, just after the Library of Congress sanctioned the practice, seemed as if it might make jailbreaking a mainstream activity.

But the scheme's reliance on a security flaw in the PDF code used in mobile Safari and a kernel vulnerability has prompted security experts to rethink their position on jailbreaking.

McAfee Avert Labs security research and communications manager David Marcus says that he uses a jailbroken iPhone for the security and command-line software that's not available in Apple"s iTunes App Store. He welcomed the Library of Congress' decision to allow jailbreaking as fair use and was looking forward to a Web-based jailbreaking mechanism.

His enthusiasm, however, has diminished, he said.

"I hope I am not the only one who is bothered by this because it begs the question 'What else can this be used for?'" he wrote in a blog post. "Vulnerabilities with reliable exploit code tend to get reused and repurposed for other attacks/malware/uses."

Marcus argues that this should serve as a wake-up call for mobile device users that remote exploitation represents a real risk.

Security firm F-Secure states the problem more succinctly: "If the vulnerability can be used to jailbreak, it can also be used for more malicious drive-by exploits."

The company notes that there have been four previously patched iOS CoreGraphics/PDF-related vulnerabilities and that WebKit and Safari account for 64% of iOS's security fixes.

F-Secure also says that the PDF exploit code crashes Foxit on Windows.

While security experts may find it difficult to endorse jailbreaking when it relies on exploit code, they're still able to appreciate the programming challenge.

"Very beautiful work," observed Charlie Miller, principal analyst for Independent Security Evaluators in a tweet. "Scary how it totally defeats Apple's security architecture."

Update: Changed "Adobe's PDF code" to "the PDF code used in mobile Safari" as PDF is an open standard and it's not clear whether Adobe, Apple or another party wrote the code.

Also, F-Secure has since published a correction: "Due to a communication error between our labs, we incorrectly stated that the exploit PDF files, mentioned below, crash Adobe Reader. This is not the case. Our apologies for the error."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-21392
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 requests to user provided domains were not restricted to external IP addresses when transitional IPv6 addre...
CVE-2021-21393
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 Synapse is missing input validation of some parameters on the endpoints used to confirm third-party identif...
CVE-2021-29429
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
In Gradle before version 7.0, files created with open permissions in the system temporary directory can allow an attacker to access information downloaded by Gradle. Some builds could be vulnerable to a local information disclosure. Remote files accessed through TextResourceFactory are downloaded in...
CVE-2021-21394
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Synapse is a Matrix reference homeserver written in python (pypi package matrix-synapse). Matrix is an ecosystem for open federated Instant Messaging and VoIP. In Synapse before version 1.28.0 Synapse is missing input validation of some parameters on the endpoints used to confirm third-party identif...
CVE-2021-22497
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-12
Advanced Authentication versions prior to 6.3 SP4 have a potential broken authentication due to improper session management issue.