iPhone 6S security hole lets attackers access contacts and photos without passcode

Lockscreen flaw allows attackers to quickly access personal information on a locked iPhone 6S or 6S Plus using Siri, Twitter and 3D Touch

A security flaw with the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will let anyone bypass the phone lock and access personal information without having to know the passcode.

The bug, discovered by Jose Rodriguez, who found a similar security hole last year, requires Siri but unlike many other iPhone hacks is relatively easy to execute.

All an attacker needs to do is fire up Siri from the lockscreen and prompt it to search Twitter for any email address. Once one is found, 3D Touching the email address will bring up a context menu from which you can create a new contact or add to an existing contact.

That gives the attacker complete access to your contacts. If the Contacts app has ever been given permission to access the iPhone’s photo library, the attacker can also browse your photos by attempting to add a photo to that new or existing contact.

All that is possible without unlocking the device.

Rodriguez demonstrating the lockscreen bypass, which affects iPhone 6S and 6S Plus devices running iOS 9, including the recently released version, iOS 9.3.1.

Users can protect themselves from having their photos accessed with the lockscreen bypass by simply denying Siri and the Contacts app access to their photos within the iPhone’s Privacy settings. But to prevent access to contacts through the flaw requires disabling Siri while the iPhone is locked within the Touch ID and Passcode settings.

The bypass bug only affects those devices with 3D Touch screens - the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus - but comes just after FBI’s recent battles with Apple to unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5C.

The federal agency has yet to divulge how it unlocked the smartphone or whether it or the third-party that is thought to have assisted it used a security flaw similar to this one to bypass the passcode. In an advisory to US local and state law enforcement, the FBI pledged to help them unlock iPhones in criminal cases where possible.

Update: Apple has fixed the issue with Siri, forcing it to ask for a passcode if searching Twitter from the lockscreen.

Contributor

Samuel Gibbs

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Your iPhone's password demands aren't just annoying. They're a security flaw
A developer has warned it is possible to create a phishing attack based on a fake sign-in request for Apple ID credentials

Alex Hern

12, Oct, 2017 @11:17 AM

Article image
iOS 12: how to install Apple’s latest iPhone software right now
Apple’s new faster update with anti-smartphone addiction features is now available to test for the iPhone 5S or newer

Samuel Gibbs

26, Jun, 2018 @10:50 AM

Article image
Is Apple intentionally slowing down your old iPhone? The data suggests not
Data shows consistent performance for iPhone 5S, iPhone 6, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 with successive iOS updates, but that doesn’t mean the phones don’t feel slower

Samuel Gibbs

09, Oct, 2017 @10:54 AM

Article image
Apple fixes HomeKit bug that allowed remote unlocking of users' doors
Security flaw in latest iPhone and iPad iOS 11.2 software meant hackers could potentially gain remote control of lights, cameras and locks in smart homes

Samuel Gibbs

08, Dec, 2017 @10:41 AM

Article image
San Bernardino iPhone hack won’t work on newer models, says FBI
Director James Comey says US government in discussions over whether to reveal details of purchased hack that only works on 5C and older devices

Samuel Gibbs

07, Apr, 2016 @3:00 PM

Article image
iPhone text crash bug hits Twitter and Snapchat
Unfixed iOS bug allows booby-trapped messages to break Snapchat text chat and can be sent via Twitter direct messages or mentions

Samuel Gibbs

29, May, 2015 @10:38 AM

Article image
iOS flaw lets hackers access iPhones using an iMessage
Users urged to update their iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch to prevent attackers taking over devices with malicious images

Samuel Gibbs

22, Jul, 2016 @9:00 AM

Article image
iOS 13: how to install Apple’s latest iPhone software today
Feature-packed new software is out in beta, though users are reporting ‘tons of rough edges’

Samuel Gibbs

25, Jun, 2019 @9:17 AM

Article image
iPhone users to be given option to turn off feature that slows down devices
Apple chief Tim Cook says update for iOS will provide new option, but urges against using it for risk of sudden shutdown problems

Alex Hern

18, Jan, 2018 @10:24 AM

Article image
Uninstalling Facebook app saves up to 15% of iPhone battery life
Testing reveals Facebook iOS app drains battery life, even when it isn’t being used, and that using Safari instead will make an iPhone last longer

Samuel Gibbs

08, Feb, 2016 @10:00 AM