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Friday, 14 June 2013 10:48

iPhones should not go on Wi-Fi

Written by Nick Farrell

Jobs’ Mob security strikes again

Apple is so lacklustre on its security and networking that it makes plugging in the iPhone jolly risky. Security firm SkyCure has found feature in iPhone devices running on certain networks, including Vodafone, that would connect automatically to a Wi-Fi network with a specified SSID, such as ‘BTWiFi’.

While this sounds like a wonderful feature, it means that a crook can get you to connect to any station you like and listen to your calls or gain access do your Coldplay collection. You might think that this sort of security threat would be one of those bugs that people find and then fix, the security industry has known all about it for years. Indeed on other most other phones it is fixed. But the way in which iOS devices are hooking up to certain Wi-Fi networks automatically is a real concern.

The case highlights another weakness in the way Apple protects traffic managed by its Safari browser. At the moment the rest of the world is moving towards the HTTPS protocol through a mechanism called HTTP STS, Apple is not. HTTP STS was released in 2012 and already Chrome and Android supports it.

Of course Apple could be sensible. It could, for example, roll out HTTP STS. It could also recommend the use of an app such as those offered by Shield and Onavo, which isolate devices from malicious networks. Needless to say it probably will not. So far Vodafone based IPhones can be seen as safer. Vodafone uses an embedded configuration to control things within the iPhone. These are ‘1WiFiVodafone1x’ and ‘Auto-BTWiFi’ are locked to ‘EAP-SIM’ authentication which is a bi-directional authentication protocol.

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