Apple issues iPhone patch to combat security problem
Jul 31st 2009 5:00PM
Updated Dec 4th 2009 6:59PM
"This morning, less than 24-hours after the demonstration of this exploit, we've issued free software that eliminates the vulnerability from the iPhone," Apple spokesman Tom Neumayer told DailyFinance.
Those who have not downloaded Apple's iPhone operating system update, will still be vulnerable to a potential attack. The fix from Apple comes a day earlier than expected.
As DailyFinance reported, Charlie Miller and Collin Mulliner described and spoke about the flaw at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas Thursday. An attack would come in the form of a text message containing a box. Once into the phone, the hacker could gain access to some of the phone's applications. Miller and Mulliner predicted that hackers could exploit the weakness in less than two weeks and said they discussed it at the conference after disclosing the problem to Apple six weeks ago.
The potential hack could also effect cell phones using Windows Mobile and the Google (GOOG) Android operating system. Google told BusinessWeek it has already patched the hole.
Apple began selling its 3G S phone last month, while continuing to sell the iPhone 3G. Apple shares closed at $163.47 and have rallied this year. The shares traded as low as $78.20 in January. If the attack was successfully unleashed onto iPhones, it would be a major blow to Apple's stock, and more importantly its security, which would have undermined the trust Apple has built with its many loyal customers.
That said, there's still potential for harm as many iPhone owners may not update their iPhone software. It took massive media coverage to prod the phone makers into action and it may take even more to spread the word to iPhone owners about the patch. The problem is, there won't be as many stories about the fix as there were about the problem. If someone begins hacking into iPhones that aren't protected, Apple will have to spend time and money on potential iPhone repairs and extensive damage control of its valuable brand.
Anthony Massucci is a senior writer for DailyFinance. You may follow him on Twitter at hianthony.