Menu
Dozens of iOS apps fail to secure users' data, researcher says

Dozens of iOS apps fail to secure users' data, researcher says

The developers have misconfigured the apps to accept invalid TLS certificates, says the maker of a tool to detect app vulnerabilities

Dozens of iOS apps that are supposed to be encrypting their users' data don't do it properly, according to a security researcher.

Will Strafach, CEO of Sudo Security Group, said he found 76 iOS apps that are vulnerable to an attack that can intercept protected data.

The developers of the apps have accidentally misconfigured the networking-related code so it will accept an invalid Transport Layer Security (TLS) certificate, Strafach claimed in a Monday blog post.   

TLS is used to secure an app’s communication over an internet connection. Without it, a hacker can essentially eavesdrop over a network to spy on whatever data the app sends, such as login information.  

“This sort of attack can be conducted by any party within Wi-Fi range of your device while it is in use,” Strafach said. “This can be anywhere in public, or even within your home if an attacker can get within close range.”

Strafach discovered the vulnerability in the 76 apps by scanning them with his company-developed security service, verify.ly, which he's promoting. It flagged “hundreds of applications” with a high likelihood of data interception.

He’s so far confirmed that these 76 apps possess the vulnerability. He did so by running them on an iPhone running iOS 10 and using a proxy to insert an invalid TLS certificate into the connection.

Strafach declared that 43 of the apps were either a high or medium risk, because they risked exposing login information and authentication tokens. Some of them are from “banks, medical providers, and other developers of sensitive applications,” he said.

He's not disclosing their names, to give them time to patch the problem.   

The remaining 33 apps were deemed low risks because they revealed only partially sensitive data, such as email addresses. They include the free messaging service ooVoo, video uploaders to Snapchat and lesser-known music streaming services, among many others.

In all, the 76 apps have 18 million downloads, according to app market tracker Apptopia, Strafach said.

It’ll be up to the app developers to fix the problem, but it only involves changing a few lines of code, says Strafach, who’s been trying to contact the developers.

He included some warnings for developers in the blog post.

“Be extremely careful when inserting network-related code and changing application behaviors,” he wrote. “Many issues like this arise from an application developer not fully understanding the code they’ve borrowed from the web.”

Users of affected apps can protect themselves by turning off the Wi-Fi when in a public location, Strafach says. That will force the phone to use a cellular connection to the internet, making it much harder for any hacker to eavesdrop unless they use expensive and illegal equipment, Strafach said.


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.

Featured

Slideshows

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ

Partners are actively building out security practices and services to match, yet remain challenged by a lack of guidance in the market. This exclusive Reseller News Roundtable - in association with Sophos - assessed the making of an MSSP, outlining the blueprint for growth and how partners can differentiate in New Zealand.

The making of an MSSP: a blueprint for growth in NZ
Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the inaugural Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months, with more than ​​50 organisations in the spotlight.​​​

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2018
Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ

HP has honoured its leading partners in New Zealand during 2018, following 12 months of growth through the local channel. Unveiled during the fourth running of the ceremony in Auckland, the awards recognise and celebrate excellence, growth, consistency and engagement of standout Kiwi partners.

Meet the top performing HP partners in NZ
Show Comments