New security problems have emerged in the iPhone and iPad and Apple is working on a fix, as Jordan Robertson from the Huffington Post reports. A German security agency found the flaw and called it a “critical weakness”. Attackers can get virus-laden software onto the Apple device by getting the owner to click on a PDF that could be infected .
Mobile devices have been a safe haven for internet-related activity for quite some time now, with far fewer security attacks than on computers, which have needed more antivirus protection. But as smartphones move closer and closer to functioning as a full computer does, the threat of a viral attack grows stronger each day. People store so much data on their phones that the ability to get into that data is of great appeal to hackers. Fortunately for users, this particular threat still required consent. Without opening the PDF, nothing would have happened to the phone.
What Prompted This?
This virus came about when a new program was released that allowed iPhone users to download programs that weren’t being offered in the Apple online store. Apple has kept tight reins on what can and can’t be downloaded onto their devices, and, in good news for Apple, the problem here came from a program that wasn’t supported by them. This one gave users the ability to ‘break’ or ‘jack’ their phones, offering many other programs that Apple won’t support.
Going forward, smartphone users must realize that security is an issue, even if it’s still a minor one. PCs are far easier to hack into, and that’s still where the majority of the hacking business comes from. Mobile phones are still relatively safe, and this isn’t something that should be anything but in the back of a user’s head. But as smartphones continue to infiltrate the web market, hackers will be trying to figure out better ways to get information from phones. With this new wave of threats to mobile devices, computer security companies, like Symantec, could become more relavent. They’ve had little use in the smartphone market, but if these attacks continue, they’ll have to start developing mobile technology that can protect a widespread range of phones. As Marc Fossi, a manager for research and development at Symantec said:
"These things are computers – they're just small, portable computers that happen to have a phone tacked onto them. You've got to treat them more like a computer than a phone. You have to be aware of what's going on with these devices."
When it comes down to it, this specific security breach was not a huge deal. The only people that had their security breached were those doing something that Apple didn’t allow in the first place, and furthermore, they had to give consent and open the PDF for the virus to infect their device. So for most people, this was merely a blip on the radar. But it has to be considered a wake-up call. Hackers aren’t going to disappear, and the longer the iOS technology is out there, the more detailed their schemes will get. At the very least, it’s something to be aware of. Hopefully, it won’t go any further than this. But if we can protect ourselves before this gets out of hand, we’ll be better off.