Security researchers on Thursday announced they had discovered a new piece of iPhone malware that allowed attackers to see virtually everything on your iPhone. They traced the previously unknown spyware back to an Israeli-based company called the NSO Group. NSO openly sells software that it says can track a person’s mobile phone — and many of its clients are governments.
Apple fixed the holes 10 days after a tip from two researchers, Bill Marczak and John Scott Railton, at Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, and Lookout, a San Francisco mobile security company. The company recommends anyone using an iPhone update their iOS immediately. For users running the beta of iOS 10, the latest seed also patches the exploits.
Researchers said it appeared governments had used NSO’s software to target journalists and human rights workers. They used fake domains to try and disguise themselves as legitimate groups like the Red Cross, news organizations, and large tech companies.
Flaws in Apple’s iOS software are sold at a premium. Last year, a similar zero-day exploit in Apple’s iOS software was sold to Zerodium, a Washington buyer and seller of zero-days, for $1 million.
Earlier this year, James Comey, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, announced that his agency had paid hackers who found a way for the F.B.I. to crack into an iPhone used by one of the shooters in last year’s mass killings in San Bernardino, Calif. Neither the hackers nor the F.B.I. have told Apple how this was accomplished.
Apple’s software update patches the NSO Group’s exploits, but it is unclear whether the company has patched the vulnerabilities used by the F.B.I. to crack into its iPhone. Apple recently began a “bug bounty” program to pay hackers who report vulnerabilities in its systems.
Android is popularly believed to be less secure than iOS but such incidents make you consider the notion seriously. Nothing is secure. Android security holes are out in the open before hackers or the likes can use it to cause serious harm, in Apple’s case, not so much. Android is also just as widely believed to be less stable than iOS, but according to the Q2 2016 State of Mobile Device Performance and Health report released by Blancco Technology Group, Apple has lost its habitual ‘leader’ position to Android in the eternal smartphone performance battle. This after the declining sales and profits. It has been bad news everywhere for Apple and its fans these past few weeks.
Suffering crashing apps, WiFi connectivity and other performance issues, the iOS failure rate more than doubled to 58% in the second quarter of 2016, compared to its 25% failure rate in the previous quarter.
Out of the 58% of iOS devices that failed, iPhone 6 had the highest failure rate (29%), followed by iPhone 6S (23%) and iPhone 6S Plus (14%). Meanwhile, combined sales of the iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus totaled 15.1% in Q2 2016, according to Kantar Worldpanel Comtech’s latest smartphone OS market share data. These combined findings suggest that software bug updates, hardware defects and smartphone operating system market share growth may have contributed to the high iOS failure rates.
“Ever since the first iPhone was introduced in 2007, Apple’s iOS has been a force to be reckoned with – launching new models every year and raking in strong sales and revenue quarter after quarter,” said Richard Stiennon, chief strategy Officer, Blancco Technology Group. “But our data suggests that the performance battle between iOS, Android and other operating systems is constantly changing and is likely to be influenced by several factors. As industry experts, wireless carriers and consumers look ahead to the highly anticipated launch of the iPhone 7 in September, it will be interesting to see how the new model’s features may, or may not, impact the phone’s performance.”
Key highlights from the Q2 2016 trend report include:
- In analysing the causes of iPhone performance issues, crashing apps (65%), WiFi (11%) and headset (4 percent) were found to be the primary culprits.
- Despite their tremendous popularity and record-setting growth rates, Snapchat(17%), Instagram (14%) and Facebook (9 percent) dominated the list of crashing iOS apps.
- Android devices had an overall failure rate of 35% – a considerable improvement from its 44% failure rate in the previous quarter.
- Lenovo and LeTV’s budget-friendly smartphones – Le 1S (10 percent), Le 1S Eco (7 percent) and Lenovo Vibe K5 Plus (6 percent) – surfaced as poor Android performers.
- Camera, battery charging and touch screen issues abate on Android devices, at 10 percent, 10 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
So while unstable apps were the biggest reasons for failure on iOS — with Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook among the worst for dying during use — the camera and battery charging were the biggest culprits on Android.