Huge mobile security vulnerability may exist in iOS apps

1,500 applications could be open to hackers as a result of outdated code that they continue to contain.

Analytics company, SourceDNA, has identified a mobile security bug that likely still exists in about 1,500 apps that could open up these iOS App Store applications to “man in the middle” attacks.

The problem exists in the way that the iOS apps create secure connections with servers.

The reason is that this connection that is established has a bug in it. This means that a mobile security exists in that anyone who intercepts the data being transmitted from an iPhone or iPad would be able to access the login names, passwords, and a number of other forms of private information that could be sent by way of the HTTPS protocol. When SourceDNA discovered the bug, it reported that among the companies that have kept the outdated code in at least one of their iOS apps were: Microsoft, Yahoo, Uber, and Citrix. This means that millions of Apple device users could have their privacy threatened if the wrong person should choose to attack.

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This type of mobile security threat makes it possible for an attacker to take hold of data on the device.

Mobile Security - iOS AppsThis is because attacks through a “man in the middle” vulnerability opens the device up to a fake WiFi hotspot in order to be able to intercept data contained in devices that have connected to it. Typically, this sort of attack, which are also frequently called “coffee shop hacks”, isn’t possible because those artificial hotspots don’t have adequate security certificates. However, the bug that has been found in the iOS apps has stopped those applications for properly checking for those certificates.

The origin of the bug was in the AFNetworking open-source networking code which has been used in the development of thousands of different apps in order to allow them to connect to servers. The code’s 2.5.1 version was originally introduced in January and it had the bug within it which allowed the connections to occur without checking for HTTPS mobile security certificates. There has since been a corrected 2.5.2 code introduced, but there remain about 1,500 apps at the iOS App Store that have yet to update.

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