26 August 2016
American multinational technology company, Apple Inc. on Thursday released a patch update to fix an exploit that allowed malware to be installed on an iPhone with a single tap.
The new update called the iOS 9.3.5 is an update to the existing Operating System.
The update was released as an essential update for iPhones, iPads and iPods to check security vulnerability.
The update became necessary as a result of the report from a certain Human Rights Activists from the United Arab Emirates, Ahmed Mansoor, who received a strange text message from a number he did not recognise on his iPhone.
Mansoor received a suspicious text that read: “New secrets about torture of Emiratis in state prisons” and included a link.
Instead of clicking on the link, Mansoor forwarded the message to Citizen Lab, a Toronto-based digital rights watchdog.
The text, it turns out, was malware that allowed an iPhone to be jail-broken in one tap.
The malware, code-named Pegasus, allowed an attacker to steal and intercept all data on an iPhone. Calls could also be intercepted, contacts lists exposed and text messages stolen.
Apart from Mansoor’s experience, The New York Times also reports that an Israeli-based mobile device surveillance software company called the NSO Group reportedly took advantage of iOS security vulnerabilities to spy on journalists and government officials.
The vulnerability allowed the NSO Group to read text messages and emails. And they were able to track sounds, user locations, phone calls and details about contacts.
The various reports of security vulnerability and spying prompted Bill Marczak and John Scott-Railton of the Citizen Lab to send a warning notice to Apple.
Ten days after the notice, Apple has successfully patched the security vulnerability and released an update.
Just earlier this month, Apple released iOS 9.3.4 update to fix Jailbreak exploit and “a memory corruption issue” through memory handling improvements.
The new iOS 9.3.5 is the fifth update to iOS 9.3. The iOS 9.3 released in March 2016 was a major update that included features like Night Shift, Touch ID support for Notes, additional News app personalisation features, new education apps, new health app categories and music app enhancements.
The iOS 9.3.5 software update is available for iPhone 4S and later, iPad 2 and later and iPod touch (5th generation) and later.
Author: Timilehin Boyinde
Oluwatimilehin Boyinde is a research writer and a social media strategist. A public affairs analyst, he writes about history, politics, sports, life matters and technology. He is passionate about happenings in Local and international political arenas. He is an avid Manchester United fan and an unapologetic Nigerian.