August 2008 Archives

Washington Post mobile

Dont know when this happened, but the Washington Post mobile site now has a very nice iPhone user experience.

Check it out.

Bypassing iPhone passcodes

This flaw has been making the rounds today.

  1. Wake your v2.0.2 PIN-locked iPhone (I haven't tried it with a alphanumeric passcode-locked iPhone, or a version other than 2.0.2)
  2. Tap "Emergency Call"
  3. Double-click the Home button

If your home button is configured to jump to your Favorites, that's where you wind up.

Problem #1? Now anyone has access to your Favorites in your contact list. They can call them. If they tap on the blue arrow next to the contact's name, they get access to the full contact information, allowing someone to text them, email them, and see their picture and address. Tapping a favorite's address finds them in Google Maps. If there's a URL associated with their address, you can open it in Safari.

Problem #2? When they email or text one of your favorites, they can cancel out of the message and have access to your mailboxes, or your entire text history. This also gives them access to your contacts list beyond just your favorites. The ability to open Safari gives them access to your web bookmarks and history, and opening Google Maps give them access to your maps favorites (as well as your contacts). In other words, it's a back door to much of the personal information on your iPhone.

Here's a simple workaround to close this vulnerability while we wait for a patch from Apple:

  1. Tap "Settings"
  2. Tap "General"
  3. Tap "Home Button"
  4. Tap "Home"

While you lose the ability to navigate to your Favorites contacts when your phone is locked, you shut the door on this hole.

What's truly frustrating is that this vuln was already fixed in a previous firmware update. How does a reversion like this make it through test?