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iPad, iPhone At Risk From Hack Attacks

August 4, 2010

A recently discovered vulnerability in software that runs Apple’s iPad and iPhone could allow hackers to take complete control of the mobile devices, according to three security firms on Tuesday.

The problem affects Apple’s iOS, which also runs the iPod Touch. Symantec Corp, Lookout, and Vupen all said the vulnerability could allow hackers to enslave the devices.

Apple is aware of the issue and is investigating the claim,Natalie Harrison, a spokeswoman for the company, told Reuters.

The vulnerability is the latest issue to arise in a series of security bugs found in mobile devices recently. Experts pointed out several vulnerabilities in Google’s operating system for mobile phones and tablet computers at a hacking conference last week.

Mobile gadgets have become increasingly vulnerable to hacks because the software that runs them has gotten much more complex over the past few years.

“We shouldn’t be surprised to see security bugs happen in very complex software,” Kevin Mahaffey, chief technology officer for mobile security firm Lookout, told Reuters.

Mahaffey said that he is not aware of any instances in which criminals have gained control of an Apple device using the vulnerability, but did say the electronics maker has yet to offer a fix to protect against such attacks.

Hackers would need to trick a user into visiting a website planted with a corrupted PDF document before infecting an iPad or an iPhone.

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