Apple Security Flaw Is “As Bad As You Could Imagine”

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 22 2014 11:30 AM

Apple Security Flaw Is “As Bad As You Could Imagine”

464345225-apps-are-seen-on-apple-iphone-5s-january-22-2014-in
IPhones, iPads and Mac computers are vulnerable to a so-called man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack

Photo by KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Apple acknowledged a major security flaw in its software for mobile devices on Friday but did so in such a low-key way that most users likely aren’t aware of just how at risk they might be if they fail to update their software. Plus, experts are saying that Mac computers could be even more exposed to attacks than the mobile software. So what is the problem? A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) vulnerability allowing hackers to intercept information that was supposed to be encrypted.

24/7 Wall Street explains:

Let’s say the attacker had access to the same network over an unsecured WiFi connection in a coffee shop or restaurant. He could impersonate a protected site such as Facebook or Gmail and alter any data passed between the iPhone and the site.
Advertisement

Johns Hopkins University cryptography professor Matthew Green summarizes it succinctly to Reuters:  "It's as bad as you could imagine, that's all I can say.”

The flaw is certainly embarrassing considering SSL is hardly groundbreaking stuff and has been around for years. Some are speculating that it is this very security hole that allowed the National Security Agency to allegedly access any iOS device, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden, points out ZDNet. Apple has denied that is the case.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

TODAY IN SLATE

History

Slate Plus Early Read: The Self-Made Man

The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada. Now, Journalists Can’t Even Say Her Name.

Mitt Romney May Be Weighing a 2016 Run. That Would Be a Big Mistake.

Amazing Photos From Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution

Transparent Is the Fall’s Only Great New Show

The XX Factor

Rehtaeh Parsons Was the Most Famous Victim in Canada

Now, journalists can't even say her name.

Doublex

Lena Dunham, the Book

More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.

What a Juicy New Book About Diane Sawyer and Katie Couric Fails to Tell Us About the TV News Business

Does Your Child Have Sluggish Cognitive Tempo? Or Is That Just a Disorder Made Up to Scare You?

  News & Politics
History
Sept. 29 2014 11:45 PM The Self-Made Man The story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 29 2014 7:01 PM We May Never Know If Larry Ellison Flew a Fighter Jet Under the Golden Gate Bridge
  Life
Dear Prudence
Sept. 30 2014 6:00 AM Drive-By Bounty Prudie advises a woman whose boyfriend demands she flash truckers on the highway.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 29 2014 11:43 PM Lena Dunham, the Book More shtick than honesty in Not That Kind of Girl.
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 29 2014 8:45 AM Slate Isn’t Too Liberal, but … What readers said about the magazine’s bias and balance.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 29 2014 9:06 PM Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice Looks Like a Comic Masterpiece
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:36 AM Almost Humane What sci-fi can teach us about our treatment of prisoners of war.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 30 2014 7:30 AM What Lurks Beneath The Methane Lakes of Titan?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.