11 Jul 2011

Computer security threat to Apple mobile operating system

The German government recently issued a computer security warning that the iOS mobile operating system used in Apple's iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices is vulnerable to malware spread through PDF files.

According to the Wall Street Journal, hackers can potentially exploit this security loophole via PDF documents embedded with malware. Once the PDF is opened, the malicious software gives the attacker administrator rights to the infected device, allowing access to confidential information like bank statements and creating the potential for eavesdropping on phone calls.

Apple has announced it will fix the problem, but Gizmodo reports that in the meantime, users have to do a little hacking themselves to protect their devices. Because Apple's products are secured to prevent installation of applications or other programs that do not come from the company's approved vendors, the only way to install the PDF patch to fix the iOS exploit is to download "jailbreak" software to circumvent Apple's security apparatus.

Gizmodo also reports this sort of security threat has been present on previous versions of iOS, and in each instance, Apple has resolved the issue.

A number of recent studies have indicated cyber criminals are increasingly targeting both mobile devices and Apple products, which historically have been infiltrated less than Windows-based PCs.