Experts are re-thinking everything they knew about iPhone security after a large-scale hack was revealed late last week.
Thousands of iPhones were allegedly hacked during a two-year span. However, it’s the “how” that have experts concerned.
iPhone Hacking Scandal
According to a group of researchers from Google’s Project Zero, hackers were able to exploit several iPhone vulnerabilities just by getting users to visit a particular website.
According to Wired:
“The attack is notable not just for its breadth, but for the depth of information it could glean from a victim iPhone. Once installed, it could monitor live location data, or be used to grab photos, contacts, and even passwords and other sensitive information from the iOS Keychain. […] With such deep system access, the attackers could also potentially read or listen to communications sent through encrypted messaging services, like WhatsApp, iMessage, or Signal.”
Google did not reveal the malicious websites, nor who was responsible.
It’s believed that every version of iOS between iOS 10 and iOS 12 were vulnerable. Apple reportedly patched the issues in their iOS 12.1.4 update, after Google relayed their findings in February.
Experts believe the hack was limited to a particular country, due to the hack’s characteristics. Which country is still unknown at this time.
“Apple declined to comment about the findings. But based on the information Project Zero has shared, the operation is almost certainly the biggest known iPhone hacking incident of all time”, Wired said.
This hacking scandal puts a big dent in the iPhone’s reputation for being highly-secure.
It was believed that hacking an iPhone can cost upwards of $1 million, making it less than cost-effective for hackers to target civilians.
What this scandal highlighted was that the math changes when hackers indiscriminately target masses of people.
Talking to Wired, a security researcher with the Electronic Frontier Foundation Threat Lab said:
“The iPhone-hacking campaign Google uncovered upends those assumptions. If a hacking operation is brazen enough to indiscriminately hack thousands of phones, iPhone hacking isn’t all that expensive.”
Experts advise that users update their iPhone iOS to the current version of iOS.
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