Google researcher details iOS exploit that can take over an iPhone with a text message || BGR
As a general rule, if you avoid clicking on suspicious links that might pop on your phone — whether they’re sent via text message or appear as an in-browser pop-up ad — the odds of your device becoming infected with malware is slim to none.
That notwithstanding, security researchers from Google’s Project Zero team recently divulged a sophisticated exploit that would allow a malicious actor to take control of a targeted device with no interaction required from the device owner at all. As Google researcher Natalie Silvanovich detailed during a presentation at the Black Hat security conference this week, there are a handful of iOS 12 exploits — which have since been patched by Apple with iOS 12.4 — that can let a third-party gain full control of a device simply by sending over a text message.”
….read more at: BGR
“These can be turned into the sort of bugs that will execute code and be able to eventually be used for weaponized things like accessing your data,” Silvanovich says. “So the worst-case scenario is that these bugs are used to harm users.”
Silvanovich, who worked on the research with fellow Project Zero member Samuel Groß, got interested in interaction-less bugs because of a recent, dramatic WhatsApp vulnerability that allowed nation-state spies to compromise a phone just by calling it—even if the recipient didn’t answer the call.
This may be because iMessage is such a complex platform that offers an array of communication options and features. It encompasses Animojis, rendering files like photos and videos, and integration with other apps—everything from Apple Pay and iTunes to Fandango and Airbnb. All of these extensions and interconnections increase the likelihood of mistakes and weaknesses.
One of the most interesting interaction-less bugs Silvanovich found was a fundamental logic issue that could have allowed a hacker to easily extract data from a user’s messages. An attacker could send a specially crafted text message to a target, and the iMessage server would send specific user data back, like the content of their SMS messages or images.
The victim wouldn’t even have to open their iMessage app for the attack to work. iOS has protections in place that would usually block an attack like this, but because it takes advantage of the system’s underlying logic, iOS’ defenses interpret it as legitimate and intended.
Other bugs Silvanovich found could lead to malicious code being placed on a victim’s device, again from just an incoming text.
“Bugs like this haven’t been made public for a long time,” Silvanovich says. “There’s a lot of additional attack surface in programs like iMessage. The individual bugs are reasonably easy to patch, but you can never find all the bugs in software, and every library you use will become an attack surface. So that design problem is relatively difficult to fix.”
Silvanovich emphasizes that the security of iMessage is strong overall, and that Apple is far from the only developer that sometimes make mistakes in grappling with this conceptual issue. Apple did not return a request from WIRED for comment.”
….read more at: Wired