A newly discovered security flaw puts any device that runs iOS, including the iPhone and iPad, at risk! At risk from what, you ask? An evildoer could remotely take control of your device, leaving you holding a hunk of plastic that you have zero control over. Symantec, which first discovered the security flaw, says Apple needs to patch the vulnerability ASAP, lest the bad guys cause a bit of havoc.
The flaw occurs because of the way mobile Safari handles PDF documents. The moment the browser opens a PDF, a hacker (how I loathe the word!) could inject a bit of code that ends up taking over your device.
The attack uses the same principles that jailbreaking uses.
In fact, the only way around the flaw right now is to jailbreak your device, then install an application that warns you when opening a PDF file.
Obviously the great fear here is that you visit a nefarious Web site that automatically causes Safari to download a PDF, a PDF that then ends up handing over control of your device to the bad guys.
(I use phrases like “bad guys” and “evildoers” if only because I’m trying to help take back the word “hacker.” Hackers don’t try to cause damage: jerks do.)
It’s not known if using an alternative browser, such as Opera, fixes the problem.
Symantec has basically begged Apple to patch the flaw. As of now, the exploit only exists on paper, but now that it’s “out there,” well, the countdown has started.