Vulnerability Shuts Down iPhone
Article by George Norman
On 05 Nov 2008
In the bad news from Apple series, we must report that Piergiorgio Zambrini has found a vulnerability in the iPhone, and it is a major one. According to Zambrini, who is better known for unlocking previous iPhone versions so that they would work on any mobile carrier (not just on AT&T), this particular bug can and will crash your iPhone. And your iPod! And your Mac powered machine!

Apple’s iPhone has a kernel vulnerability that affects the audio stream in videos. In other words, if someone sends you a bug infested video, or if you download such a video from the web and then attempt to play it on your iPhone, it will shut down. If this were a different bug (not a kernel one) the browser would have crashed, thus allowing the phone to keep working. But since it is a kernel bug, the device itself will crash and it will take you a couple of minutes to boot up.


According to Cameron Hotchkies from TippingPoint, company that specializes in acquiring vulnerabilities, Piergiorgio Zambrini could sell the technical details of this bug and make a lot of money. It is impossible to say exactly how much money the bug specs will fetch, but Hotchkies estimates it to be over the ten thousand mark. Luckily for iPhone users Zambrini is not the kind of guy to care only about money, especially since he would very much like to join the Apple team. He will continue to study the bug and assess its true potential (which may turn out to be remote code execution).

If you would like to watch a video demonstration on how the bug effectively shuts down an iPhone, Forbes has been kind enough to post one online. You can watch it here. Alternative video link (withouth all the annoying adds) here.

Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPod, iMac
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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