Safari AutoFill Security Issue Rears Its Head Once Again

Back in July, security researcher Jeremiah Grossman revealed a security issue that could allow malicious parties to take advantage of Safari's AutoFill feature to extract personal information from users' Address Book entries. At the time, Grossman reported that his report to Apple had gone essentially unacknowledged for nearly a month, but just six days later Apple released Safari 5.0.1 and 4.1.1 to address the problem.

134256 safari autofill u tab exploit 500
Screenshot of Grossman's proof-of-concept test of new AutoFill exploit

Grossman now reports that he has discovered another similar AutoFill security issue that, while requiring the malicious party to trick users into providing a pair of keystrokes rather than being completely automated as in the previous exploit, offers an even more efficient means for users' personal information to be obtained.

To perform our attack requires tiny bit of end-user trickery. Two button presses to be precise. A malicious website detects (ie: IP address) the country the victim is from. For our purposes here we'll assume the "US." The attacker invisibly (CSS transparency) sets up the aforementioned form and forces the keystroke focus into the country element. Notice how this is done in the video on the right side of the screen, which only visible for demonstration purposes. Next the attacker entices the victim to type "U" (first character of "US") and then press "TAB." And BAM! That's it! Data stolen.

Grossman relates that he notified Apple of the newly-discovered exploit via email on August 10th and again a few days later. One week after that, he received a phone call from an Apple product security engineer with whom he had a "productive chat" about how the original vulnerability report from June had been handled, only to discover at the end of the conversation that the engineer had no idea that Grossman had reported the second issue a week and half prior.

As with the earlier exploit, users can protect themselves by simply turning off the AutoFill option to automatically populate forms with information from their Address Book cards. Grossman notes, however, that he is unsure how Apple plans to address the vulnerability while still maintaining the convenience of the AutoFill feature. While Apple's previous patch allowed Safari to automatically differentiate from the automated JavaScript-simulated keystrokes from real keystrokes, thus thwarting the original exploit, the new exploit relies on tricking the user into actually entering the necessary keystroke, a tactic that could be more difficult to address.

Popular Stories

General Apps Messages

iMessage Down for Some Users [Update: Service Restored]

Thursday May 16, 2024 3:00 pm PDT by
The iMessage service that Apple users to send messages to one another appears to be down for some users, and messages are failing to go out or are taking an extra long time to send. There are numerous reports about the issue on social networks and a spike of outage reports on Down Detector, but Apple's System Status page is not yet reporting an outage. Update: Apple's status page says...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
iphone 15 pro max vs iphone 16 pro max

iPhone 16 Pro Max Looks This Much Bigger Beside iPhone 15 Pro Max

Thursday May 16, 2024 4:51 am PDT by
This year's upcoming iPhone 16 Pro Max is expected to get a boost in overall size from 6.7-inches to 6.9-inches, and a new image gives us a good idea of how the current iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to what could be Apple's largest ever iPhone. The image above, posted on X by ZONEofTECH, shows a dummy model representing the ‌iPhone 16 Pro‌ Max alongside an actual iPhone 15 Pro Max. Dummy...
iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...