Famed Mac hacker finds possible bug in Apple's iPhone

Famed Mac hacker Charlie Miller has found another possible security vulnerability in Apple's iPhone.

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Famed Mac hacker Charlie Miller has found another possible security vulnerability in Apple's iPhone.

Miller, a principal security analyst at Independent Security Evaluators, is known for his prowess in hacking Apple products, winning the CanSecWest security conference hacking contest two years straight.

Miller detailed his latest find - just discovered a couple of days ago - on Thursday at the Black Hat Europe security conference. The finding refutes what was a commonly held belief about how an unmodified iPhone works.

Most security researchers thought it wasn't possible to run shellcode on an iPhone. Shellcode is code that can run from a command line, but the iPhone was thought not to allow it for security reasons.

The ability to run shellcode is important, as it would let a hacker do all sorts of malicious actions, such as peeping at a person's text messages or call history of an iPhone from a remote location.

Earlier versions of the iPhone software didn't have many protections to prevent people from tampering with its memory to run other commands, Miller said. But the latest version of the iPhone's software strengthened the overall security of the phone, Miller said.

Miller said he's found a way to trick the iPhone into running code that enables shellcode. To run shellcode on an iPhone, however, an attacker would first need a working exploit for an iPhone, or a way to target some software vulnerability in, for example, the Safari Web browser or the mobile's operating system. Miller said he doesn't have one now.

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