iOS 4.3.2 protects iGadgets against rogue SSL certificates

Aside from fixing problems with FaceTime chat and 3G connectivity, iOS 4.3.2 also contains crucial security updates.

Apple released yet another update to iOS this week. iOS 4.3.2 is the second incremental update for iOS in a matter of weeks following the launch of iOS 4.3. Like any incremental update, iOS 4.3.2. contains its share of minor tweaks and fixes, but iOS 4.3.2 is also important for the security of your iPhone or iPad.

Most of the attention around iOS 4.3.2 has revolved around fixes to FaceTime video chat and 3G connectivity. There have been reported issues with FaceTime chat freezing up, and users -- particularly in Europe -- have complained about not being able to connect to 3G networks from the iPad tablet. iOS 4.3.2 addresses both of those problems.

Behind the curtain, though, iOS 4.3.2 also contains a variety of security updates -- the most crucial being a blacklist of the rogue Comodo SSL certificates. The Apple Support site explains, "Several fraudulent SSL certificates were issued by a Comodo affiliate registration authority. This may allow a man-in-the-middle attacker to redirect connections and intercept user credentials or other sensitive information. This issue is addressed by blacklisting the fraudulent certificates."

In layman's terms, your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad rely on SSL certificates to verify the authenticity of the Websites you visit from the mobile device, and provide a secure, encrypted connection. Using a rogue SSL certificate from the Comodo breach, an attacker could create a malicious site that spoofs a legitimate Website and expose your sensitive information and allow the attacker to capture crucial data like your username, password, or account details.

iOS 4.3.2 also addresses some other security concerns. Apple fixes two different vulnerabilities with WebKit that could be exploited to cause unexpected app termination, or allow the attacker to run malicious code on the device. In addition, iOS 4.3.2 fixes a flaw in QuickLook that could allow similar malicious activity by an attacker when viewing a Microsoft Office file.

Obviously, if you have been having issues with FaceTime or 3G connectivity you will want to apply this update. But, if you aren't experiencing those problems and you think that you don't need this gargantuan 600MB-plus update from Apple, think again. The security updates are crucial, and you want them on your iPhone or iPad.

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Tony Bradley

PC World (US online)
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