The Security Side of the iPhone OS 3.1.3 Update
Article by George Norman
On 03 Feb 2010
Apple recently updated the iPhone OS to version 3.1.3 and released the update to iPhone and iPod touch users everywhere. From a non-security point of view, the iPhone OS 3.1.3 comes with these new features:
  • Improves accuracy of reported battery level on iPhone 3GS;
  • Resolves issue where third-party apps would not launch in some instances;
  • Fixes bug that may cause an app to crash when using the Japanese Kana keyboard.

From a security point of view, the iPhone OS 3.1.3 plugs a total of 5 security holes. Several of these security vulnerabilities could allow a person with malicious intent that successfully exploits them to remotely take control of the device. Here is a more detailed look at the vulnerabilities the iPhone OS 3.1.3 fixes:
  • CoreAudio – CVE-2010-0036
Impact: Playing a maliciously crafted mp4 audio file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
Description: A buffer overflow exists in the handling of mp4 audio files. Playing a maliciously crafted mp4 audio file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue is addressed through improved bounds checking.
  • ImageIO – CVE-2009-2285
Impact: Viewing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution.
Description: A buffer underflow exists in ImageIO's handling of TIFF images. Viewing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue is addressed through improved bounds checking.
  • Recovery Mode – CVE-2010-0038
Impact: A person with physical access to a locked device may be able to access the user's data.
Description: A memory corruption issue exists in the handling of a certain USB control message. A person with physical access to the device could use this to bypass the passcode and access the user's data. This issue is addressed through improved handling of the USB control message.
  • WebKit – CVE-2009-3384
Impact: Accessing a maliciously crafted FTP server could result in an unexpected application termination, information disclosure, or arbitrary code execution.
Description: Multiple input validation issues exist in WebKit's handling of FTP directory listings. Accessing a maliciously crafted FTP server may lead to information disclosure, unexpected application termination, or execution of arbitrary code. This update addresses the issues through improved parsing of FTP directory listings.
  • WebKit – CVE-2009-2841
Impact: Mail may load remote audio and video content when remote image loading is disabled.
Description: When WebKit encounters an HTML 5 Media Element pointing to an external resource, it does not issue a resource load callback to determine if the resource should be loaded. This may result in undesired requests to remote servers. As an example, the sender of an HTML-formatted email message could use this to determine that the message was read. This issue is addressed by generating resource load callbacks when WebKit encounters an HTML 5 Media Element.



Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPhone OS 3.1.3, Security
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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