NC State researchers help find gaps in Apple’s iOS security

(AP Photo/Ronald Lizik)


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There’s new research from a team led by N.C. State shows gaps in security on your iPhone and iPad.

Vulnerabilities in Apple’s operating system are leaving room for attacks on your privacy.

These days our phones house an incredible amount of data.

Because most of that is private information about our lives, computer science researchers at N.C. State and other institutions started digging into just how secure that information is.

What they found is concerning.

“Upwards of a dozen different vulnerabilities that allow for these different sorts of attacks,” said Associate Professor William Enck.

The attacks can hack information from your pictures, location and even conversations.

Researchers were able to find these weak spots by reverse engineering the operating software, and then building an automated framework to examine the policies of operating systems.

The iOS policy is lacking in its control of third-party apps.

“There are lots of applications out there that are taking this information and reporting it back to analytics firms and add libraries to try to help better profile and target users,” said Enck.

So, what does all of this mean for you?

To explain that we need to go back to the basics of when you first download an app onto your phone.

“The only prompts that you really get when you’re downloading an app and setting it up is at the very beginning,” said Will Hardison with Fanbase Marketing Agency.

Hardison says you should pay close attention to those prompts to access your contacts or camera.

“Every time you allow access to those things of your phone, it becomes more vulnerable,” he said.

And with the iOS vulnerabilities, once you give some apps access to your data you can’t cut them off, even if you change your privacy settings.

“Our iPhones and Androids and stuff like that, they’re miniature computers. And they have storage and they have the ability to get viruses and malware,” said Hardison.

But, the weak spots with iOS may be fortified soon.

“We’ve had several phone calls with them about the vulnerabilities we’ve found. They’re working hard to fix these vulnerabilities,” said Enck.

Most security gaps should be fixed with iOS 10, expected out in September.

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