Apple users at risk of SSL man-in-the-middle attacks

Mobile security

Apple users at risk of SSL man-in-the-middle attacks

Cliff Saran

Apple has issued a security alert affecting iOS 7.0.6 which could put iPhone and iPad users at risk from man-in-the-middle style hacking attacks.

In the security alert, Apple stated: "An attacker with a privileged network position may capture or modify data in sessions protected by SSL/TLS."

Apple-IOS-security-update.jpg

The US national institute of standards and technology (Nist) national vulnerability database reported that the attack can occur due to a bug in the secure transport feature in the data security component in Apple iOS 6.x before 6.1.6 and 7.x before 7.0.6, Apple TV 6.x before 6.0.2, and Apple OS X 10.9.x before 10.9.2.

Nist stated that Apple’s implementation of SSL/TLS does not check the signature in a TLS server key exchange message, which allows man-in-the-middle (MITM) attackers to spoof SSL servers by using an arbitrary private key for the signing step or omitting the signing step.

The ImperialViolet site listed code verifying the attack. 

The site stated: “[The bug] affects anything that uses SecureTransport, which is most software on those platforms, although not Chrome and Firefox which both use NSS for SSL/TLS.”

The site’s owner suggested that enabling only TLS 1.2 would be a viable workaround. It is also possible to use only the RSA cipher suite, according to ImperialViolet.


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