iOS Trustjacking Attack Exposes iPhones to Remote Hacking [source: bleepingcomputer]

Symantec researchers have found a loophole in how iPhone users pair devices with Mac workstations and laptops. They say attackers can exploit this flaw —which they named Trustjacking— to take over devices without the phone owner’s knowledge.

At the technical level, the Trustjacking security issue is rooted in the “iTunes Wi-Fi sync” feature included with iTunes.

If this option is enabled in the iTunes settings section, when a Mac laptop/workstation owner syncs a new iPhone to his computer, this feature allows him to connect at any time to the smartphone via the local WiFi network, instead of using a wired cable.

The feature is convenient, and for solid reasons, as it allows a PC owner to easily retrieve or send data from the smartphone via the iTunes app and its API.

But Symantec researchers say there’s a flaw in the design of this feature, which continues to grant a computer owner access to a paired iPhone via the local WiFi network, even after the iPhone device has disconnected from the computer.

Attackers can take control of iPhones via local WiFi

Presenting their findings today at the RSA 2018 security conference, Roy Iarchy, Head of Research and Modern OS Security at Symantec, says an attacker can abuse the iTunes Wi-Fi sync feature to take control of a device at later times, with no visible indicator to the device owner.

Iarchy says that once the iTunes WiFi sync feature is enabled, and a victim has been tricked into pairing with a malicious device, the attacker can use the iTunes API to record the user’s smartphone screen by taking repeated screenshots at short intervals and sending the screenshots back to the iTunes app.

Furthermore, the attacker can also install or remove apps, all without any interaction with the iPhone owner, and can even trigger a remote backup, have it sent to his computer, and later sift through the victim’s data.

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