Apple iPhone Can Be Rooted By Hackers?

Researchers are claiming they’ve found a serious found buffer overflow exploit on Apple’s iPhone which allows code to be executed as root.

The exploit is delivered via a malicious web page opened in the Safari browser on the iPhone. There are several delivery vectors that an attacker might utilize to get a victim to open such a web page. For example:

  • An attacker controlled wireless access point: Because the iPhone learns access points by name (SSID), if a user ever gets near an attacker-controlled access point with the same name (and encryption type) as an access point previously trusted by the user, the iPhone will automatically use the malicious access point. This allows the attacker to add the exploit to any web page browsed by the user by replacing the requested page with a page containing the exploit.
  • A misconfigured forum website: If a web forum’s software is not configured to prevent users from including potentially dangerous data in their posts, an attacker could cause the exploit to run in any iPhone browser that viewed the thread. (This would require some slight changes in our proof of concept exploit, however.)
  • A link delivered via e-mail or SMS: If an attacker can trick a user into opening a website that the attacker controls, the attacker can easily embed the exploit into the main page of the website.

When the iPhone’s version of Safari opens the malicious web page, arbitrary code embedded in the exploit is run with administrative priviledges. In our proof of concept, this code reads the log of SMS messages, the address book, the call history, and the voicemail data. It then transmits all this information to the attacker. However, this code could be replaced with code that does anything that the iPhone can do. It could send the user’s mail passwords to the attacker, send text messages that sign the user up for pay services, or record audio that could be relayed to the attacker.

If it’s true Apple will certainly have an update out pretty soon.

[Exploiting the iPhone]

[tags]apple, iphone, at&t, at&t wireless, aapl, t[/tags]