Apple Fixed Bug That Exposed Your Photos and Contacts
Well, that was quick.
Earlier on Tuesday, reports surfaced saying that a bug in what appeared to be iOS 9 would have allowed hackers to access an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus owner’s contacts and photos. But that has issue has since been fixed.
When users now try to use the hack published recently on YouTube, they’ll find that Apple’s AAPL virtual personal assistant Siri now asks them to unlock their device first. Previously, Siri would allow access to a person’s contacts and photos after users exploited a flaw in the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
As part of the latest fix, when users attempt to retrace the steps that would allow hackers access to their photos and contacts, Siri rebuffs the request. Rather than simply allowing a person to search Twitter TWTR from the lock screen, Siri says he or she will “need to unlock your iPhone first.” The would-be hacker, therefore, would be required to either use Touch ID or input the iPhone owner’s code to unlock the device.
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According to those who discovered the bug, a would-be hacker could hold a locked iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus and ask Siri to search Twitter. From there, the user would ask Siri to find email addresses by saying “gmail.com” or “yahoo.com.” Upon tapping on an email address in the results displayed in the lock screen, users could gain access to a person’s contacts and photos. The feature is believed to have only affected iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s users because those devices offer 3D Touch, a feature that gives users additional features when they vary how hard they press down on the display.
While initial reports and claims from the bug’s discoverers said that the issue was an iOS 9 glitch, it turns out it was a Siri problem. On Tuesday morning, after seeing the rash of reports on the issue, Apple issued an update to Siri fixing the problem. Therefore, users who were previously subject to the issue are now safe and do not require a software update to get the fix.
For more about iOS 9.3, watch:
Siri is a virtual personal assistant Apple launched in 2011. While the platform is designed to help users perform tasks, search content, and more by “talking” to the virtual assistant, it has been panned in the past for not responding well enough to queries. Siri has also been the brunt of many jokes when the assistant becomes confused by seemingly simple commands.
For its part, Apple has worked to improve Siri and add new features. Since Siri is cloud-based, Apple can make the changes in the background without requiring users to update their software. That is precisely what Apple did on Tuesday.
And to its credit, Apple delivered the fix quite quickly. In fact, even those who seemingly would’ve otherwise not been affected by the issue will receive the same request to unlock the device before being able to search Siri from the lock screen.
Apple declined comment on its fix.