Scam of the day – August 27, 2016 – Dangerous iPhone vulnerability exposed

Earlier this month, human-rights advocate Ahmed Mansoor received a text message instructing him to click on a link in the text message to obtain important information about human rights abuse, however, he was rightfully skeptical about the text message and forwarded the message to Citizen Lab, a project of the University of Toronto that works with human rights and global security.  Citizen Lab, working with the security company Lookout Security, discovered a number of zero day exploits, which are malware exploiting software flaws previously undiscovered  in Apple’s iPhone and iPads.  Had Mansoor clicked on the link, his phone would have been taken over by whomever sent the malware infected text message who would have then been able to control and monitor his iPhone including its camera and microphone as well as gain access to all of the data in the phone and even track his whereabouts.  Citizen Lab and Lookout Security notified Apple which managed in ten days to create security updates to patch these vulnerabilities.  Below you will find a link to the security updates as issued by the Department of Homeland Security.  If you have an iPhone or iPad, it is critical that you install these updates as soon as possible.

TIPS

There are a number of important lessons from this story.  First and foremost is to remember that the most common way that malware is surreptitiously installed on our computers, smartphones and other electronic devices is by luring us into clicking on links in phishing or spear phishing emails or text messages.  Never click on a link unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate. The second important lesson is to remember to update your electronic devices with the latest security patches as soon as they become available.  In many instances, malware for which security patches have been issued continue to plague people who delay updating their devices.

Here is a link to information about the latest Apple security patch as released by the Department of Homeland Security.  https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2016/08/25/Apple-Releases-Security-Update

You also can update your iPhone or iPad by going to your Settings app and tap General- Software Update.