iOS 10.3 Fixes Exploit That Caused iPhones to Repeatedly Dial 911

iOS 10.3, released earlier this week, fixes a major vulnerability that could cause iPhones to repeatedly dial 911, reports The Wall Street Journal. In the United States, 911 is an emergency telephone number that summons police, fire, and EMS services.

The 911 security flaw surfaced in October after an 18-year-old iOS developer in Arizona discovered and published code that would cause an iPhone to dial 911 over and over again. The teenager was arrested after the 911 system in Surprise, Arizona was overwhelmed with more than 100 hang-up calls in just minutes.


Because the code was published online, thousands of accidental 911 calls were placed across the United States, demonstrating an effective cyberattack method that could severely disrupt emergency services.

The code exploited an iPhone feature that allows users to click on a phone number in a text message or on a webpage and immediately dial that number. With the iOS 10.3 update, iPhones always require secondary confirmation before automatically calling a number using that method.

Apple says the update supersedes that capability and now requires users to always press a second confirmation before initiating a call.

Apple says it initially worked with app developers to fix the vulnerability, and this update will now prevent it from happening even on apps that hadn't already fixed the issue.

iOS 10.3, which introduces features like Find My AirPods and a new Apple Filesystem, also includes dozens of major security fixes. Another major iOS 10.3 bug fix, which could result in endless Safari pop-ups that "locked" the Safari app, was outlined earlier this week.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
44 months ago
I'd feel much more comfortable with a phone that explodes.
Well, if you have both an iPhone and a Galaxy Note 7, the iPhone can call the police for you when the Note explodes.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
44 months ago

It would be really nice if these articles could offer more accurate regional details.

Enhanced 911 is currently deployed in most metropolitan areas in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as well as all of the Cayman Islands. Also, Davao City in the Philippines.

This site is for news and rumors about Apple-related products and services. It's not Wikipedia.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
44 months ago

There was a very unfortunate case recently in the Dallas area where a child died when 911 couldn't be reached due to massive #'s of calls being made in to the system and it couldn't keep up. Hold times for 911 response were at times as much as 45 mim... Related?

There's a vulnerability in Android systems that allows unprivileged apps to spoof the cellular ID that the phone uses to identify itself on the LTE network, plus Android lets those apps make phone calls. And there's a vulnerability in LTE systems where someone can spoof a bunch of random cell IDs with fake security keys that the carrier won't check IFF they're requesting a 911 call; in fact, that phone doesn't even need to be a subscriber to that carrier. And the 911 systems have no way of telling which calls are legitimate. So it could be that.

The worst part? Even if they fix this in Android,
1. Attackers can still get away with using their own devices, and any kind of fix for this on the LTE network would require phones to be updated so they can make legit 911 calls...
2. Nobody updates their Android phones.
[doublepost=1490914369][/doublepost]

It would be really nice if these articles could offer more accurate regional details. There seems to be a huge focus on the US, maybe because the publication is based out of the US? Remember that you are reaching a global audience.

Enhanced 911 is currently deployed in most metropolitan areas in the United States, Canada, and Mexico as well as all of the Cayman Islands. Also, Davao City in the Philippines.

Knowing that this 911 bug happened elsewhere, not just the US, broadens how many people and countries that it may have impacted.

The article should really say that this bug has nothing to do with 911 and is just an exploit to force the iPhone to call any number, regardless of your service provider.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
44 months ago
The article is unclear, was he arrested for publishing the vulnerability or did he exploit it himself to DoS the 911 system?
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
44 months ago

That's what I want to know too, my iPhone 6 is running fine on iOS 9.3.5, I doubt jumping to 10 will do anything but slow it down and create bugs, of course, I will be happy to be told otherwise.

I think it's a superb idea to stay with an outdated OS, leaving yourself wide open to security exploits and vulnerable... I'd advise ANYONE to do this, and whilst you're about it, go and open your front door, leave it wide open when you go to bed, and then I would post ALL your personal and financial details, website & app logins to pastebin and put them on Twitter - may as well go all out. Next, install "TeamViewer" and call any "Indian Microsoft agents" you can find by Googling that phrase, and give them your TeamViewer ID, then naively hope they're honest and won't ruin your computer.

Yes, security updates and stability patches are for mugs - be scared and cautious and stay out of date, that's the spirit, and I am sure Steve Gibson of GRC.com will advise you of the same.

I won't add the redundant "sarcasm" tag, I think you got the point.


PS: Would you like some FREE flash drives? Let me know what OS you and your friends are running, and I'll send you as many as you like :p

PS!

Please accept my gift of a free gold mercedes, shipped direct to your door for a small £100 admin fee, by clicking here:

http://adf.ly/genuinefreegoldmercedescars ('http://http://adf.ly/genuinefreegoldmercedescars')

Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
44 months ago

I read about this a while ago. To be clear, this vulnerability didn't just affect 911 calls. You could force the iPhone to make a call to any number.

Nice. So he didn't have to attack critical emergency services, he just chose to do so?

"To show the seriousness" he aimed at 911. Basically, "let me hurt innocent people so you understand this could seriously hurt innocent people".

Thinking about the connection between actions and consequence is what jail is for, after all...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...

Google Maps Debuts New Apple Watch App and CarPlay Features

Monday August 10, 2020 9:16 am PDT by
Google today announced the launch of several features for Google Maps on Apple products, including new CarPlay functionality and a new Google Maps app that works on Apple Watch. The new Google Maps app for Apple Watch works similarly to the iOS app, allowing Apple Watch owners to get directions for a car, bike, public transit, or on foot. The app supports estimated arrival times and...

2020 iMac Teardown Reveals Internal Changes and Similarities

Saturday August 8, 2020 12:44 pm PDT by
A teardown video, shared by OWC, reveals the internal changes in the new 2020 27-inch iMac. The 2020 27-inch iMac was announced earlier this week with 10th-generation Intel Core processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, up to 8TB of storage, a 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, higher fidelity speakers, and...

Apple Seeds iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 Public Beta 4 to Testers

Thursday August 6, 2020 10:05 am PDT by
Apple today seeded new public betas of upcoming iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 updates to its public beta testing group. Today's software releases, which Apple labels as fourth betas to keep them in line with developer betas, are actually the third betas that Apple has provided and they come two weeks after the prior beta releases. Public beta testers who have signed up for Apple's beta testing...

Apple Believes This German Cycling Path Logo Infringes on Its Own Logo

Wednesday May 1, 2019 9:51 am PDT by
Apple recently objected to the logo of a new German cycling path in an appeal filed with the German Patent and Trademark Office, according to German outlets General-Anzeiger Bonn and Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Apple reportedly takes issue with the logo's green leaf and supposed "bitten" right side, attributes the company believes are too similar to its own logo. The logo, registered with the ...

Supposed iPhone 12 Display Unit Leaks

Thursday August 6, 2020 8:13 am PDT by
An image supposedly of an iPhone 12 display unit has been shared online by leaker "Twitter user Mr. White". Compared to images of an iPhone 11 Pro display piece, this new unit has a reoriented display connector, reaching up from the bottom of the display, rather than from the left-hand side on iPhone 11 Pro. This may be due to the logic board moving to the other side of the device. A...

Foxconn Reportedly Begins Seasonal Hiring Spree for iPhone 12 Production

Monday August 10, 2020 7:03 am PDT by
Apple's largest manufacturing partner Foxconn has begun its seasonal hiring spree to assist with iPhone 12 production, offering employees who recruit qualified applicants up to a 9,000 yuan bonus, according to Chinese media reports. As usual, Foxconn needs as many hands on deck as possible at its factory in Zhengzhou, China to assist with mass production of the upcoming iPhones. Apple is...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

New 27-Inch iMac's Storage Affixed to Logic Board, 4TB and 8TB Configurations Have Expansion Connector

Friday August 7, 2020 7:46 am PDT by
Following a report from German blog iFun.de that claimed the new 27-inch iMac's flash storage is soldered to the logic board, MacRumors has obtained additional information in an internal document for Apple technicians. In the document, Apple says that the flash storage is indeed affixed to the logic board and cannot be removed. However, for the 4TB and 8TB configurations, Apple says that a...