Security experts in the US claim to have found a flaw in Apple's iPhone handset that can be used by attackers to access private data stored on it.
Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) said on a website dedicated to explaining the flaw and its exploitation that an attacker could gain access to the iPhone through a wireless access point, or through a website controlled by the attacker.
Numerous hackers have been working to gain access to the iPhone in order to activate certain features or to allow it to be used on cellular networks other than AT&T's. However, this is the first major exploitation of an iPhone security flaw.
Because the iPhone connects to wireless Internet access networks, such as Wi-Fi, by name, an attacker could create a network with the same name and encryption method as one the handset already uses. The attacker could then substitute a web page with exploit code to gain access to the phone, ISE said on its website.
An attacker could also use a link planted on an unedited or unmoderated online forum, or a link sent by SMS or email to use make use of the flaw and gain access to the handset, ISE said. The company said its researchers had required two weeks of part-time work to find the flaw and exploit it.
When the iPhone's Safari browser opens a malicious web page, malicious code can be run on the phone via the flaw, allowing the attacker to read the iPhone's SMS log, address book, call history, and voicemail information, which are also then sent to the attacker, ISE said.
ISE said it would be presenting full details of the exploit and its procedure at the Black Hat 2007 conference in Las Vegas on August 2.