Apple at the Core of New SSL Vulnerability

One of the presentations at the RSA Conference underway at the Moscone Center in San Francisco this week focused on the lifecycle of vulnerabilities and vendor pitfalls -- and Apple was the unfortunate star of the show.

The presentation by Yair Amit, CTO of mobile security provider Skycure and its CEO Adi Sharabani offered details about a vulnerability the company found recently in iOS 8.

EUOne day, during preparation for a demonstration of a network-based attack, we bought a new router. After setting the router in a specific configuration and connecting devices to it, our team witnessed the sudden crash of an iOS app,EU Amit wrote in a blog post. EUAfter a few moments, other people started to notice crashes. Pretty quickly, we realized that only iOS users were suffering from crashes.EU

How Deep Does This Go?

Skycure dug deeper to discover this was more than a quality assurance issue. The research team analyzed the crashes and found the source of the problem: attackers can regenerate a bug and cause apps that perform SSL communication to crash any time they choose by generating specially crafted SSL certificates. The firm reported the issue to Apple.

EUWith our finding, we rushed to create a script that exploits the bug over a network interface,EU Amit said. EUAs SSL is a security best practice and is utilized in almost all apps in the Apple app store, the attack surface is very wide. We knew that any delay in patching the vulnerability could lead to a serious business impact: an organized denial of service attack can lead to big losses.EU

SkycureEUs research revealed that the vulnerability actually affects the underlying iOS operating system. "With heavy use of devices exposed to the vulnerability, the operating system crashes as well," Amit said. Even worse, under certain conditions, the Skycure team managed to get...

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