First-ever iPhone virus spreads via SMS?

By Justin Mann on July 31, 2009, 9:01 AM
The security-conscious atmosphere that Apple likes to breed might be in danger. There have been numerous reports recently of a new vulnerability, dubbed the “iPhone SMS Virus”, that could result in the smartphone being compromised or remotely controlled. Hacker Charlie Miller released this so-called first iPhone virus yesterday, six weeks after reporting the flaw to Apple. Giving it away to the public at a security conference in Las Vegas, this could prove to be a sticky situation for the Cupertino company if the implications are true.

Depending on your source, the potential damage this flaw could cause varies. Some go so far as to claim it could let remote users make calls with your phone, pilfer data from it or even more. What makes it especially scary is that it can be spread completely via SMS messaging, requiring no intervention on a user's behalf. An iPhone can be compromised through specific crafting of malicious text messages, most of which would be hidden to the victim.

Though unofficial patches have reportedly surfaced, there has been no official response from Apple on what the flaw entails and how long users will have to wait for a fix. I wouldn't personally suggest installing third-party software, and would instead hope that Apple comes up with an official response – either dispelling this as hyped nonsense or confirming it as a danger and offering a solution. Interestingly, one of the most plausible-sounding do-it-yourself fixes requires having a jailbroken iPhone, which can let you disable the messaging application on the iPhone without removing it.

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