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Hackers Taking Aim at iPhones, Apple

added by Michael on 10 Aug 2008

As the predominant worldwide desktop, Hackers have historically focused their efforts on exploiting vulnerabilities in the popular Microsoft Windows operating system.  Now that Apple is gaining the attention of the market, PhysORG reports that they're beginning to catch their interest.

"There are more eyes looking over Apple products for vulnerabilities," Hotchkies told AFP at a notorious annual DefCon gathering of hackers in Las Vegas.


"It has slowly been growing as a target people are more and more interested in."

Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) security vulnerability analyst Cameron Hotchkies cited the popularity of porting Windows software over to Apple's operating system as a large source of potential exploits. 

More than a thousand people crammed into his DefCon talk about hacking Apple software. He was peppered with technical questions at the close of the session.


"There are a lot more people getting into it and really getting their hands dirty," said Hotchkies, who noted an obvious spike this year in the number of DefCon attendees toting Macintosh laptops.


"I've been seeing a lot of reverse engineering on the Apple platform."


Part of the reason for increased popularity of Macintosh computers is that Apple has made the machines friendlier to running programs popular on Windows-based machines.


Hackers experienced with attacking Windows programs can apply some of their know-how to software modified to run on Macintosh computers.


Developers that re-craft Windows programs for Macintosh systems might not be adept at building security components on the latest Leopard operating system used in Apple machines.


"Windows developers take their code and make it work on Apple," Hotchkies said. "They could take potential vulnerabilities with them or possibly create new ones because they are working on an entirely different platform."


Apple's Safari operating system is the basis for internet browsing using iPhones, which are basically handheld mini-computers with telephone, music, and video viewing capabilities.


It took about a month for someone to hack a first-generation iPhone after its release, but an iPhone 3G was cracked within hours of the start of sales in July.