Menu
Gmail users on iOS at risk of data interception

Gmail users on iOS at risk of data interception

Lacoon Security found Google hasn't yet implemented a security technology that could prevent data loss

Apple users accessing Gmail on mobile devices could be at risk of having their data intercepted, a mobile security company said Thursday.

The reason is Google has not yet implemented a security technology that would prevent attackers from viewing and modifying encrypted communications exchanged with the Web giant, wrote Avi Bashan, chief information security officer for Lacoon Mobile Security, based in Israel and the U.S.

Websites use digital certificates to encrypt data traffic using the SSL/TLS (Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security) protocols. But in some instances, those certificates can be spoofed by attackers, allowing them to observe and decrypt the traffic.

That threat can be eliminated through certificate "pinning," which involves hard coding the details for the legitimate digital certificate into an application.

Unlike for Android, Google doesn't do this for iOS, which means an attacker could execute a man-in-the-middle attack and read encrypted communications, Bashan wrote. Google acknowledged the problem after being notified by Lacoon on Feb. 24, but the problem has not been fixed, he wrote.

Google officials did not have an immediate comment.

It isn't clear why certificate pinning isn't used by Google on iOS. But three years ago, a Google security engineer that works on such security issues described a scenario where the handling of digital certificates becomes complicated.

Occasionally, proxy servers used by companies will intercept HTTPS connections using local, ephemeral certificates, wrote Adam Langley on his personal blog. Some security applications and parental control programs will also do this, he wrote.

Those certificates have the authority to override "pins" that have been set to check for a specific certificate, he wrote.

Lacoon described an attack scenario that involved tricking a user into installing an iOS device management configuration file that contains a malicious root digital certificate. That would validate a spoofed certificate, allowing the person to navigate to a fraudulent Gmail site.

"We were quite surprised by this finding because Google had implemented certificate pinning for their Android Gmail app," Bashan wrote. "Clearly, not implementing this for iOS was an oversight by Google."

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileGoogleiosapplicationstelecommunicationMobile OSesLacoon Mobile Security

Featured

Slideshows

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Reseller News honoured the standout players of the New Zealand channel in front of more than 500 technology leaders in Auckland on 21 October, recognising the achievements of top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards
Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments