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New Security Risk with iPhone iOS

February 28, 2012

New Security Risk with iPhone iOS

By Monica Gleberman
Contributing Writer

If you think your iPhone is secure, you might change your mind after hearing about a new bug in Apple’s (News - Alert) iOS 5.0.1 software. The bug allows someone to gain access to contacts and calling features of your smartphone by cracking the passcode protection screen.  

The claim started when iPhoneislam, an iPhone (News - Alert) related news site, claimed it was actually able to bypass the main lock screen and even posted a video on YouTube (News - Alert) showing users how it can be done. The method involves inserting and ejecting the iPhone’s SIM card, leading to a bypass of the passcode, which in turn gives you access to the phone.

Although it’s being called a bug, it is only a worry for users if they lose their iPhones. This bug is not a simple hack. In the iPhoneislam video, the person tries the hack several times before he is able to bypass the passcode screen to gain access to the phone. This is not a bug that can be exploited remotely. Someone has to have his or her hands on the iPhone in order to get into the device

Similar issues occurred a couple months back when some users were able to skip the passcode screen by using Siri. Then some users discovered a security flaw in the “emergency call” button software. The flaw would let users tap the home button, hit some random numbers, tap the call button, then hit the lock button, ultimately gaining access to a user’s personal information such as contacts and text messages.

Myce said that iPhoneislam is calling this a serious bug, but they disagree. “It requires a good deal of patience, physical access to the phone, and either knowledge of the phone number or a spare SIM. All of that seems like a lot of work to get access to the phone app and contacts list on the device.”

Some say the glitch is possible because of an iPhone feature that allows you to dial a missed call with the swipe of a finger from the locked home screen. Apple has yet to make an official comment regarding this alleged iOS bug, though it has made comments on previous security risks in the past. Apple does plan on releasing a new version of its iOS sometime in the coming weeks.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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