Patching an iPhone

Apple recently released a patch for the iPhone operating system. The fixes some pretty serious vulnerabilities, but… you must connect your iPhone to a computer and run iTunes to update the iPhone. This led me to start wondering how many iPhone users rarely connect their iPhones to a computer? I suspect there are quite a few people who rarely connect their iPhone to a computer and that could be a serious problem in the future. Because some of these vulnerabilities can lead to arbitrary code execution, it would be difficult to rule out an iPhone worm.

Ironically, the easy way to prevent a problem with the iPhone is the same way to prevent many problems on PCs, but we have a really hard time getting people to patch their operating system and applications. For current versions of Windows and Snow Leopard it is quite easy to patch if you just let the OS do its work. Some people turn of the automatic updates and often become victims. For third party applications the landscape is a bit more rugged. Some applications have automatic updates or automatic reminders to check for updates, but not all do.

I’m guessing that most of you who read the blog and have an iPhone probably connect your iPhone to your computer fairly often, but it is only a guess so, I have created a survey and if you own an iPhone I would be interested in your answers. This is a really short survey and I will stop collecting answers at the end of the week. Please feel free to refer friends who may not read the blog to the survey as well.

The survey is here

I’ll share the results when they have been collected.

Randy Abrams
Director of Technical Education
 

Author ESET Research, ESET

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