Security Experts:

iOS Vulnerability Demonstrated At Pwn2Own Contest May Exist on iPhone 5

During the EUSecWest security conference last week in Amsterdam, researchers taking part in the Pwn2Own Mobile contest showed off a new attack vector in WebKit that can be used to snatch pictures, browsing history, and address book information from an iPhone.

The attack itself works on iOS 5.1.1, as well as the developer version of iOS 6, leading some to speculate that Apple latest and greatest, the iPhone 5, isn’t equipped to protect consumers from the latest mobile risk.

Joost Pol and Daan Keuper, two researchers working for Certified Secure (a Dutch security company), said that they didn’t spend a lot of time developing the exploit, and noted that in addition to iPhones, it was possible to target iPads as well.

The attack focused on a malicious webpage, where the code needed to hijack the device could be embedded in an advertisement or any other place for that matter.

Apple has not commented on the attack, but this is par for the course, and isn’t the first time WebKit has come under attack.

“Apple will have to come up with an update and then people need to upgrade as fast as possible,” said Pol in an interview with IDG news.

The researchers feel that the iPhone is the most secure device on the market, but note that it doesn’t require a lot of time to exploit iOS.

Both researchers will split a prize of $30,000 for their work. The exploit itself has been turned over to Zero Day Initiative per the rules of the Pwn2Own contest itself.

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Steve Ragan is a security reporter and contributor for SecurityWeek. Prior to joining the journalism world in 2005, he spent 15 years as a freelance IT contractor focused on endpoint security and security training.