Apple Says So-Called Security Flaw Isn't Actually a Security Flaw

Illustration for article titled Apple Says So-Called Security Flaw Isnt Actually a Security Flaw

Earlier this week, the internet was up in arms about a new iOS vulnerability, dubbed 'Masque Attack', that was discovered by security firm FireEye. Apple have released a statement to iMore pointing out that Masque Attack isn't really a flaw at all, and that it's 'not aware' of anyone who's actually been affected by the attack.

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As described by the researchers in a blog post with the hyberbolic title "all your apps belong to us", 'Masque Attack' allows attackers to create a fake version of a legitimate app, which sits on top of the real app and siphons off data without the users noticing. Sounds scary, right? Not really. See, the 'attack' requires the user to first follow a dodgy-looking link, then click past an iOS pop-up warning people about downloading malicious apps. Not to mention, the hacker needs access to an iOS Developer Enterprise Program account. As Apple said:

"We designed OS X and iOS with built-in security safeguards to help protect customers and warn them before installing potentially malicious software," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "We're not aware of any customers that have actually been affected by this attack. We encourage customers to only download from trusted sources like the App Store and to pay attention to any warnings as they download apps. Enterprise users installing custom apps should install apps from their company's secure website."

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If we pretend that ignoring the built-in safeguards and then downloading dodgy apps is a security flaw, then every single major operating system, mobile or otherwise, has a security flaw. The only worrying part about the 'Masque Attack' is that legit third-party apps can be compromised. But honestly, it's not anything to worry about.

If anything, this proves that with the right marketing, almost anything can be spun into a security flaw these days. [iMore]

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DISCUSSION

Masque is really bad. All you have to do is send someone a legit looking URL via any vector (SMS, email, in another game) with a 'hey, try this new game!' message, then they approve installing it (of course they will, it's the new Flappy Bird!), and the hacker has complete access to every single damn thing on your iPhone including text messages and phone calls and all the application's private data. Undetectably. TWO completely legitimate looking CLICKS. And getting an iOS Developer Enterprise Program account is trivial.

I'm not an Apple hater here - I'm (on the side) a security guy. I can go on for pages about how bad Android security is. But Apple downplaying problems so they'll just go away is their MO, and all this requires is some dope to do two completely reasonable looking clicks to completely pwn everything on your phone and all your company's secure data and keys. This one's so bad the US Govt has issued a warning. Don't downplay it for fanboy reasons.