Menu
SSL certificate flaw allows hackers to crash devices running iOS 8

SSL certificate flaw allows hackers to crash devices running iOS 8

When combined with another exploit, the No iOS Zone flaw can make iPhones, iPads and iPods impossible to use

A flaw in iOS 8 would allow attackers to render devices running the mobile OS useless if they're within range of a fake wireless hotspot, according to researchers from security firm Skycure.

The vulnerability exploits an issue in how iOS 8 handles SSL certificates. By manipulating the certificates, researchers found they were able to get apps running on iPads, iPhone and iPods as well as the OS to crash. In other instances, the researchers placed the devices in a constant reboot cycle.

Yair Amit and Adi Sharabani, Skycure's CTO and CEO, respectively, discussed the flaw, called "No iOS Zone," Tuesday during a session at the RSA conference and talked about their findings in a blog post on Wednesday.

While attackers need to have control over a wireless network to send the bogus SSL certificates, the researchers found that pairing the SSL certificate flaw with an older threat they named WiFiGate makes this scenario possible.

WiFiGate takes advantage of a feature that allows mobile carriers to configure settings in iOS devices. Carriers, for example, have preprogrammed iOS devices to automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks they have set up for their subscribers. In the U.K., for instance, iPhones running on Vodafone's network will connect to the Wi-Fi networks named "1WifiVodafone1x" or "Auto-BTWiFi", according to a Skycure blog post on the WiFiGate threat. Customers can't disable or change these preconfigured Wi-Fi settings. The only way to protect against WiFiGate attacks is to turn off Wi-Fi on a device, the post said.

Knowing the names of the preprogrammed wireless networks, information that can be found in iOS, attackers could create a fake Wi-Fi network that Apple mobile devices connect to by default. Next, they could launch an attack that uses the SSL certificate flaw and cripple the devices, Skycure said. If people figure out that the Wi-Fi network is responsible for the attack -- and their device is constantly rebooting -- they would be unable to turn off the Wi-Fi connection and stop the assault.

Attacks using the SSL flaw haven't been reported, but such an assault could prove "catastrophic" if launched in a location with heavy mobile traffic, such as an airport or finance center like Wall Street, said Skycure. With nearly every program in Apple's App Store using SSL, a common security technique that validates a website, Skycure realized the flaw "could lead to a serious business impact."

Since the exploit hasn't been fixed, Skycure isn't sharing technical details, but has informed Apple about the issue. The companies are working together on a resolution.

Skycure recommends people upgrade to the latest version of iOS since the update may have fixed some of the threats and avoid suspicious free networks, especially those that cause their devices to constantly crash or reboot.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'connor@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags AppletelecommunicationapplicationsiossecurityMobile OSesmobileSkycure

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments