iPhone Troubles? Spy Tech Firms Now Can Allow Governments See Everything a Target Does on a Smartphone

iOS bug: iPhone users urged to update after Apple fixes huge password vulnerability

The bug could let hackers steal your passwords and secretly run software


Apple employees take orders for the new iPhone 6S at the Apple Retail in Palo Alto, California September 25, 2015 REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

By Andrew Griffin

The Independent

If you haven’t just updated your phone, it might be in huge danger.

A new update fixes security holes that would allow hackers to grab passwords and other important information with just one infected iMessage.

All hackers would have to do is to send an infected image to a phone, which will automatically open up it as soon as it is received. Once that file is received, hackers get the ability to run malicious code on that device – letting them run programs or hoover up passwords.

The security bug is present in every version of iOS and macOS apart from the very newest ones – iOS 9.3.3 and El Capital 10.11.6. Those updates were released this week and so Apple advises

The bug has only just been made public after being discovered by Tyler Bohan, a researcher who works for Cisco’s security unit. But it was shared with Apple ahead of the publication, so that it could be fixed without notifying hackers that it could be used.

It’s also possible to keep the phones from being infected by turning off iMessage and disabling MMS messaging, meaning that there’ll be no way to send over image files through texts, and ensuring that no questionable images are opened over email. Though there are no known problems with the latest updates, that will help keep devices safe until they are upgraded to the latest software.

Though Apple devices get updated far more reliably than Android ones – new releases for which tend to get held back by networks and phone manufacturers – there are still thought to be tens of millions of phones that haven’t even been updated to iOS 9, the last major release that came out in September last year.

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How Spy Tech Firms Let Governments See Everything on a Smartphone

SAN FRANCISCO — Want to invisibly spy on 10 iPhone owners without their knowledge? Gather their every keystroke, sound, message and location? That will cost you $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee with an Israeli outfit called the NSO Group. You can spy on more people if you would like — just check out the company’s price list.

The NSO Group is one of a number of companies that sell surveillance tools that can capture all the activity on a smartphone, like a user’s location and personal contacts. These tools can even turn the phone into a secret recording device.

Since its founding six years ago, the NSO Group has kept a low profile. But last month, security researchers caught its spyware trying to gain access to the iPhone of a human rights activist in the United Arab Emirates. They also discovered a second target, a Mexican journalist who wrote about corruption in the Mexican government.

Now, internal NSO Group emails, contracts and commercial proposals obtained by The New York Times offer insight into how companies in this secretive digital surveillance industry operate. The emails and documents were provided by two people who have had dealings with the NSO Group but would not be named for fear of reprisals.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/technology/nso-group-how-spy-tech-firms-let-governments-see-everything-on-a-smartphone.html?_r=0

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