Thursday, August 18th 2022, Apple released an emergency security update that aimed to patch a serious security vulnerability putting certain iPhone, iPad and Mac products at risk of fraudulent attack. Quickly after identifying the vulnerability, Apple disclosed the issue and rapidly released a safeguard patch to the Apple products that were at risk.
Apple, known as an unlikely target for today’s cyber attacks, first sounded the alarm when developers identified the potential for an application to execute an arbitrary code with “kernel privileges”. This vulnerability gave cyber attackers an entry point, and a platform to execute code within the security perimeter of today’s most trusted Apple devices. However, the challenges don’t stop there.
Following a thorough analysis, Apple identified a second issue that provided a second entry point for attackers. Here, an Apple WebKit, also known as a layout engine was identified to possess a security vulnerability, or secondary entry point-a hacker’s paradise. Apple said it was “aware of a report that this issue may have been actively exploited.” The issue could allow a potential attacker to take complete control of these devices.
As a premiere iPhone App Developer recognized as one of the top San Francisco-based app development firms, we’re dedicated to staying on top of the latest trends in the app development space, making this a critically important story to follow.
What are Apple Users To Do?
Of course, millions of Apple users are now asking themselves “what should I do to stay protected?” Experts that assess security vulnerabilities have categorized which devices require the Apple update. The list of devices is as follows: The iPhone 6 and later models; several models of the iPad, including the 5th generation and later, all iPad Pro models and the iPad Air 2; and Mac computers running MacOS Monterey. The vulnerabilities also affect the iPod Touch 7th generation models.
And for those that choose not to update their compromised Apple device? The threat is substantial. Apple notes that these vulnerabilities can give hackers full administrative access to the device, allowing them to execute any action as if they were the actual user of the phone. This statement comes from Rachel Tobac, CEO of SocialProof Security, in the midst of this Apple vulnerability scare.
Rachel goes on to note”people who are in the public eye,” such as activists or journalists who might be the targets of sophisticated nation-state spying, Tobac said.
Has This Happened Before?
Unfortunately, there are many hacker organizations that have been trying to crack the Apple “code” for decades. For instance, the commercial spyware company known as Israel’s NSO Group are one such group known for identifying and taking advantage of such flaws. In identifying and exploiting these vulnerabilities,NSO Group will surreptitiously infect targets’ smartphones, siphons their contents and surveys the target’s information in real time. This comes at a time when everyone is on the lookout to limit their exposure to security risks.
To curb some of the attacks staged by the NSO Group, the U.S commerce Department had blacklisted the organization as of Jan 2020. The United State govt has taken a hard stance on limiting the accessibility of sensitive information, and has staged a full blown cyber initiative to ensure government agencies are uniquely protected against the attacks put on by these malicious actors.
Security researcher Will Strafach said he had seen no technical analysis of the vulnerabilities that Apple has just patched. The company has previously acknowledged similarly serious flaws and, in what Strafach estimated to be perhaps a dozen occasions, has noted that it was aware of reports that such security holes had been exploited.
What Does This Mean for Organizations Looking to Bring an App to the Market?
For organizations looking to bring an app to the marketplace, this should act as a humbling reminder to proceed with appropriate caution. Unfortunately, organizations seem to be caught between rock and a hard place when it comes to development. On one hand, there is a market urgency to bring applications and solutions to the market quickly, However, on the other hand, there is the impending reality that haste can and will expose security vulnerabilities if an organization isn’t careful.
What then is an organization to do? Well, in our humble opinion, working with a seasoned professional development firm, one that prioritized a security-first development practice is critically important.
We believe that partnering with a strategic partner to bring your app from ideation to fruition is the only way to adequately limit risk while developing in a manner than meets the needs of today’s fast-paced market.
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