IPhone Flaw Lets Hackers Take Over, Security Firm Says

Charles Miller, shown on his iPhone, said that after finding a hole in security, “you were in complete control.”

By JOHN SCHWARTZ
Published: July 23, 2007

A team of computer security consultants say they have found a flaw in Apple’s wildly popular iPhone that allows them to take control of the device.

The researchers, working for Independent Security Evaluators, a company that tests its clients’ computer security by hacking it, said that they could take control of iPhones through a WiFi connection or by tricking users into going to a Web site that contains malicious code. The hack, the first reported, allowed them to tap the wealth of personal information the phones contain.

Although Apple built considerable security measures into its device, said Charles A. Miller, the principal security analyst for the firm, “Once you did manage to find a hole, you were in complete control.” The firm, based in Baltimore, alerted Apple about the vulnerability this week and recommended a software patch that could solve the problem.

A spokeswoman for Apple, Lynn Fox, said, “Apple takes security very seriously and has a great track record of addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can affect users.”

“We’re looking into the report submitted by I.S.E. and always welcome feedback on how to improve our security,” she said.

There is no evidence that this flaw had been exploited or that users had been affected.

Dr. Miller, a former employee of the National Security Agency who has a doctorate in computer science, demonstrated the hack to a reporter by using his iPhone’s Web browser to visit a Web site of his own design.

Once he was there, the site injected a bit of code into the iPhone that then took over the phone. The phone promptly followed instructions to transmit a set of files to the attacking computer that included recent text messages —[Full story]

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Hackers Crack Microsoft’s Digital Rights Management Technology Again

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

SEATTLE  —  Microsoft Corp. is once again on the defensive against hackers after the launch of a new program that gives average PC users tools to unlock copy-protected digital music and movies.

The latest version of the FairUse4M program, which can crack Microsoft’s digital rights management system for Windows Media audio and video files, was published online late Friday. In the past year, Microsoft plugged holes exploited by two earlier versions of the program and filed a federal lawsuit against its anonymous authors. Microsoft dropped the lawsuit after failing to identify them.

The third version of FairUse4M has a simple drag-and-drop interface. PC users can turn the protected music files they bought online — either a la carte or as part of a subscription service like Napster — and turn them into DRM-free tunes that can be copied and shared at will, or turned into MP3 files that can play on any type of digital music player.

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