Alleged iOS Security Flaw Enables Malicious Apps to Secretly Log User Touch Inputs

Researchers from security firm FireEye have revealed a new bug in iOS that enables a malicious app to monitor and log a user's touch inputs and button uses while running in the background, reports Ars Technica. The exploit reportedly targets a flaw in iOS' multitasking capabilities to capture user inputs, and allows for them to be sent to a remote server.
fireeye_logging_ios_flaw2
To demonstrate the flaw, the researchers created a proof-of-concept monitoring app and developed approaches to "bypass" Apple's App Store Review process effectively. Once the app was installed on an iOS device, actions including keyboard inputs, use of the volume, home, and power buttons, screen touches with exact coordinates, and Touch ID events were all captured. The researchers also noted that disabling iOS 7's "Background App Refresh" setting would not disable a malicious app from logging data, as the only present solution to the problem is to manually remove apps from the task switcher.

FireEye also spoke about the flaw being identified in current versions of iOS:

Note that the demo exploits the latest 7.0.4 version of iOS system on a non-jailbroken iPhone 5s device successfully. We have verified that the same vulnerability also exists in iOS versions 7.0.5, 7.0.6 and 6.1.x. Based on the findings, potential attackers can either use phishing to mislead the victim to install a malicious/vulnerable app or exploit another remote vulnerability of some app, and then conduct background monitoring.

The group added that it is actively working with Apple on the issue, although the company has yet to comment publicly. The news comes less than a week after Apple issued iOS 7.0.6 in response to a SSL vulnerability that allowed a hacker to capture or modify data from Safari in supposedly secure sessions.

The SSL security bug was also found to be present in OS X, as new research over the weekend revealed that additional apps such as FaceTime and iMessage could be compromised. Apple confirmed to Reuters that it will issue an OS X software update "very soon" to patch the bug.

Top Rated Comments

Asclepio Avatar
117 months ago
welcome to the new microsoft.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Creep89 Avatar
117 months ago
How is this even remotely considered a security issue?

Yes, every touch is logged, but none of the logs carry any semantic information about the touches.

What those guys have just demonstrated is of no use to an actual hacker. It would be like tapping a phone line and then only be able to know how many calls are placed each day.

If you know the exact coordinates you can simply overlay the iOS Keyboard and extract everything the user typed in, including passwords, logins or other personal information. :rolleyes: But yeah, no security issue here. LOL.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Zxxv Avatar
117 months ago
The researchers also noted that disabling iOS 7's "Background App Refresh" setting would not disable a malicious app from logging data, as the only present solution to the problem is to manually remove apps from the task switcher.


those people closing all their apps don't look so silly after all :p:D:p
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Gymgenius Avatar
117 months ago
How is this even remotely considered a security issue?

Yes, every touch is logged, but none of the logs carry any semantic information about the touches.

What those guys have just demonstrated is of no use to an actual hacker. It would be like tapping a phone line and then only be able to know how many calls are placed each day.
You sure?
The fact that x and y co-ordinates of each touch or release event is captured, could be used as a key-logger once the boundries of each key on the soft keyboard have been worked out.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
H2SO4 Avatar
117 months ago
S: The group added that they are actively working with Apple to fix the issue, as the company has yet to respond.

Business as usual then......
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Creep89 Avatar
117 months ago
Wow.. Apple.. Much secure :rolleyes:
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

Multi Display CarPlay 1

Apple Launching All-New CarPlay Experience Later This Year With These 5 Features

Sunday January 29, 2023 10:15 am PST by
In June 2022, Apple previewed the next generation of CarPlay, promising deeper integration with vehicle functions like A/C and FM radio, support for multiple displays across the dashboard, personalization options, and more. Apple says the first vehicles with support for the next-generation CarPlay experience will be announced in late 2023, with committed automakers including Acura, Audi,...
dewey airtag

Report Highlights Danger of Using AirTags for Tracking Dogs

Monday January 30, 2023 1:45 pm PST by
AirTags may be a convenient way for tracking dogs that might get off leash or otherwise lost, but there are dangers associated with the practice, as outlined by a report from The Wall Street Journal. At 1.26 inches in diameter, AirTags are able to fit easily on a dog's collar, but that size also makes the tracking devices small enough to swallow, at least for a medium to large-sized dog, and ...
maxresdefault

Kuo: Apple to Release Foldable iPad With Carbon Fiber Kickstand in 2024

Monday January 30, 2023 12:55 am PST by
Apple will launch a foldable iPad with a carbon fiber kickstand sometime next year, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. In a series of tweets, Kuo said he expects an "all-new design foldable iPad" to be the next big product launch in the iPad lineup, with no other major iPad releases in the next nine to 12 months. The analyst said he...
tim cook data privacy day

Apple Violated U.S. Labor Laws With Anti-Leak Email

Monday January 30, 2023 3:43 pm PST by
Apple violated United States labor laws when it sent out an email warning employees about leaking confidential information about the company, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) said today in a ruling shared by Bloomberg. Rules that Apple has established around leaks "tend to interfere with, restrain or coerce employees" from the exercise of their rights under the National Labor...
top stories 28jan2023

Top Stories: iOS 16.3 Released, iPhone 15 Pro Rumors, macOS Tips and Tricks, and More

Saturday January 28, 2023 6:00 am PST by
Following last week's hardware announcements, this week saw the actual release of several of the new products as well as operating system updates bringing new features and bug fixes across Apple's platforms. This week also saw some fresh rumors about the iPhone 15 lineup and Apple's upcoming AR/VR headset, while we shared some tips to help you get the most of your macOS experience, so read...
iphone 15 pro wifi 6e

Internal Apple Document From Leaker 'Unknownz21' Confirms Wi-Fi 6E Will Be Limited to iPhone 15 Pro Models

Friday January 27, 2023 10:01 am PST by
Multiple rumors have suggested that the next-generation iPhone 15 models will adopt the Wi-Fi 6E standard that Apple has already introduced in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro, and now a leaked document appears to confirm Apple's plans. Sourced from researcher and Apple leaker Unknownz21 (@URedditor), the document features diagrams of the iPhone 15's antenna architecture. D8x refers to the...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Side Perspective Feature Purple

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Have These 8 Features

Friday January 27, 2023 2:11 pm PST by
Apple's next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max are expected to be announced in September as usual. Already, rumors suggest the devices will have at least eight exclusive features not available on the standard iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus. An overview of the eight features rumored to be exclusive to iPhone 15 Pro models:A17 chip: iPhone 15 Pro models will be equipped with an A17...