Trusting, lazy humans a common theme in recent security vulnerabilities

The persistence of a new iOS vulnerability, affecting the estimated one-third of iOS devices that haven't been updated in the past five months, is the latest in a string of vulnerabilities whose discovery by various vendors highlights the ongoing role of careless and unquestioning humans opening the door to potentially damaging vulnerabilities.

The latest finding, announced this week by security vendor FireEye, highlighted the ongoing risks from the Plugin Masque vulnerability, which the company said in a statement “bypasses iOS entitlement enforcement and hijacks VPN traffic”.

The vulnerability manifests itself in five different ways – including an 'app masque', 'URL Masque', “Manifest Masque', 'Plugin Masque', and 'Extension Masque'. Each allows attackers to bypass built-in trust mechanisms to attack other apps and hijack services, with fixes available for three of the Masque attacks available in iOS since version 8.1.3 was released five months ago; the other two have been partially fixed in the newly released iOS 8.4.

Despite the availability of fixes, however, an estimated one-third of iOS devices have still not been updated past iOS 8.1.3, FireEye warned – leaving mobile users exposed to exploitation by malicious attacks that can quietly substitute legitimate versions of applications with malware-infected alternatives.

Such attacks are only a small proportion of the entire threat landscape, which continues to expand as hackers figure out both new technological attacks and new methods of using malware for information gathering and exploitation.

Trend Micro, for its part, recently documented a cybercrime campaign in which Nigerian cybercriminals have been using the Hawkeye keylogger to surreptitiously gather information about victim companies' supplier networks, ultimately funneling funds into their own accounts by sending doctored payment details.

Samsung was recently called to task for a significant security hole in its smartphones, while

And Symantec researchers recently found a password-recovery scam that is helping cybercriminals bypass two-factor authentication checks by tricking users into handing over the details of their Web mail accounts.

Victims are targeted using their email address and mobile number – two pieces of information that are relatively easy to uncover. Researchers noted the scam's success due to its “simplicity and the fact that people have an overwhelming tendency to trust figures of authority. These two qualities work just as well in the world of cybercrime.”

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

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