Apple fixes iOS lock screen bypass that gives access to photos, contacts

Via Siri, locked iPhone 6s and 6s Plus devices could have been tricked

Apple has reportedly fixed a vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to bypass the passcode on iPhone 6s and 6s Plus running iOS 9.3.1 in order to access the address book and photos.

The bypass technique was discovered by researchers from German security firm Evolution Security and takes advantage of Siri's integration with apps like Twitter or Facebook and the new 3D Touch feature that's only available on the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus models.

On a locked device, attackers can call up Siri and ask to search for items that contain @ tags using Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. Then they can locate a string like an email address and use the 3D Touch hard push to bring out the context menu for it.

This menu offers the option to add the email address to an existing contact, therefore providing access to the address book. Then the attacker can choose to change the photo for an existing contact, bringing up the photo gallery.

Apple fixed the vulnerability Tuesday without users needing to install a software update, the Washington Post reported.

This is not the first lock screen bypass that has been discovered in iOS. In this particular case the bug only worked for a limited number of iPhone models in specific configurations, but other techniques patched in the past affected a larger number of devices.

Combined with the default encryption provided by iOS, the lock screen is the primary method of ensuring that user data remains protected when a device is stolen, lost or is temporarily in someone else's possession.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Apple

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?