iPhone 6 buyers must be wary of new security exposure: ThreatMetrix

The increasingly cloud-centric design of Apple's iPhone 6 and 6 Plus – and their owners' increasing use of the devices to store all kinds of personal information – will increasingly make them targets for cyberthieves seeking to exploit security loopholes, security firm ThreatMetrix has warned.

The new models – which have set Apple sales records after the company received 10 million preorders within the first few days after the launch – are heavily dependent on iCloud, which ThreatMetrix chief products officer Alisdair Faulkner said in a statement is “like a remote control for users' lives.”

“Consumers making the switch to the iPhone 6 should be aware of the pros and cons of doing so,” Faulkner continued. “Consumers need to be mindful that the data they sync to iCloud is now likely only protected by a weak username and password combination.”

Exploitation of those credentials could prove problematic for iPhone 6 adopters.

“If a hacker gains access to a username and password, which is often shared across sites,” he added, “they can use the Find My Phone feature to not only disable Apple Pay purchasing from your device, but also get access to backup photos and remotely delete and reset your password as well.”

Last month, weaknesses in Apple's iCloud authentication methods led to the high-profile extraction and publication of large numbers of compromising photos from dozens of celebrities' iCloud accounts.

An “outraged” Apple responded fiercely to the compromise and has subsequently introduced two-step verification for iCloud account users – even as [[xref:http://www.cso.com.au/article/554219/russian-made-tool-grabs-nude-selfies-from-icloud-accounts/ |tools emerge for automating the extraction of photos from iCloud backups.

Despite the availability of stronger protections for those willing to upgrade to two-factor authentication, however, the advisory warned that few consumers are likely to do so because such measures involve inconvenience and added effort.

ThreatMetrix also fingered the new financial functionality added into Apple's iPhone 6 – specifically, the expanded capabilities of Apple's Passbook application and the Apple Pay payments ecosystem that will emerge in the US next year – as potential weak spots in the devices' profiles, although Passbook's secure information-storage approach was heralded as a “net positive for transaction security”.

Cybercriminals are likely to shift their efforts from retail channels to online channels as widespread adoption of Apple Pay helps secure conventional transactional streams, but the iPhone 6 devices' collection of health-related information was also fingered as a potential weak spot.

Privacy concerns about the bundled HealthKit software would also prove tricky for users, ThreatMetrix noted: although Apple was encrypting and storing the health metrics in its phones, the analysis warned that “there may be future business pressure to better monetize Apple's iAd network....consumers do not have good ways of ensuring their data remains protected once data is stored off their phone.”

This article is brought to you by Enex TestLab, content directors for CSO Australia.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags ThreatMetrixmobilitycloud securityauthenticationcloudcentricmobile deviceshackingsecurity issuesAppleexploitationiphone 6

More about AppleCSOEnex TestLab

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place