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Bug Security Apple

Charlie Miller Circumvents Code Signing For iOS Apps 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-trust-us dept.
Sparrowvsrevolution writes "At the SysCan conference in Taiwan next week, Charlie Miller plans to present a method that exploits a flaw in Apple's restrictions on code signing on iOS devices, the security measure that allows only Apple-approved commands to run in an iPhone's or iPad's memory. Using his method, an app can phone home to a remote computer that downloads new unapproved commands onto the device and executes them at will, including stealing the user's photos, reading contacts, making the phone vibrate or play sounds, or otherwise using iOS app functions for malicious ends. Miller created a proof-of-concept app called Instastock that appears to show stock tickers but actually runs commands from his server, and even got it approved by Apple's App Store." Update: 11/08 02:54 GMT by U L : Not unexpectedly, Apple revoked Miller's developer license.
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Charlie Miller Circumvents Code Signing For iOS Apps

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  • Native code (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cbhacking (979169) <<moc.oohay> <ta> ... isiurc_tuo_neeb>> on Monday November 07, 2011 @05:44PM (#37978312) Homepage Journal

    So long as iOS apps are developed using a language that allows pointer access, including function pointers, people are going to find and exploit bugs like this. It's actually a really interesting parallel to homebrew development on Windows Phone (yes, I have one, in addition to a few Linux devices - no iOS ones though): you can do native code on WP7, but you have to use COM to access it. Microsoft prohibits ISVs from using the COM import API from C#/VB in marketplace apps, so they can very easily block this kind of thing by just checking for references to a few specific APIs (they also block the use of C# "unsafe" pointers).

    Now, I'm not exactly advocating that Apple needs to re-design their entire applicaiton model. However, the fact remains that the way they do it, it's almost impossible to really verify that any given app isn't doing something like this, short of code-reviewing the source of every submission and rejecting any that are too hard to understand (completely impractical). It means they *are* vulnerable to malware, though - even from the "trustworthy" marketplace.

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