Google reveals years-long ‘indiscriminate’ iPhone hack

Once installed, the malicious software primarily focused on stealing files and uploading live location data. (File/Shutterstock)
Updated 30 August 2019

Google reveals years-long ‘indiscriminate’ iPhone hack

  • Most of the vulnerabilities targeted were found in the iPhone’s default Safari web browser
  • Once embedded in a user’s iPhone, the malicious software sent back stolen data

WASHINGTON: Google security experts uncovered an “indiscriminate” hacking operation that targeted iPhones over a period of at least two years and used websites to implant malicious software to access photos, user locations and other data.
In a post Thursday on the blog of Google’s Project Zero security taskforce, cyber experts did not name the hacked websites hosting the attacks, but estimated they received thousands of visitors a week.
“Simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant,” said Project Zero’s Ian Beer.
Once installed, the malicious software “primarily focused on stealing files and uploading live location data,” Beer said, adding it had been able to access encrypted messenger apps like Telegram, WhatsApp and iMessage.
Google hangouts and Gmail had also been affected, he added in the post, which provided a detailed breakdown of how the malicious software targeted and exploited iPhone vulnerabilities.
Most of the vulnerabilities targeted were found in the iPhone’s default Safari web browser, Beer said, adding that the Project Zero team had discovered them in almost every operating system from iOS 10 through to the current iOS 12 version.
Once embedded in a user’s iPhone, the malicious software sent back stolen data, including live user location data back to a “command and control server” every 60 seconds.
Beer said Google had informed Apple of the attacks in February, and Apple subsequently released a security patch for the iOS 12.1.
Long the driver of Apple’s money-making machine, iPhone revenue overall was down 12 percent from last year to $26 billion.
The tech giant sent out invitations on Thursday to a September event at its Silicon Valley campus where it is expected to unveil a new-generation iPhone.


ABC apologizes for video wrongly said to be from Syria

Updated 15 October 2019

ABC apologizes for video wrongly said to be from Syria

  • ABC says it relied on an outside source that it would not identify for the material
  • The mistake was first noticed by conservative media

NEW YORK: ABC News is apologizing for airing a video that it said depicted a Turkish attack on Kurds in Syria, but instead was taken at a military gun demonstration in Kentucky.
The brief footage was aired on “World News Tonight” Sunday and “Good Morning America” on Monday. The network said it “appears to show the fury of the Turkish attack.”
ABC says it relied on an outside source that it would not identify for the material. It gave no immediate explanation Tuesday for how it got through.
The mistake was first noticed by conservative media, which had suggested ABC was trying to make President Trump look bad. Trump has been criticized for withdrawing US troops from Syria, enabling Turkey to attack.
ABC had no comment on the accusations.