Charging stations are great, aren't they? Most of the time, these stations are completely trustworthy too, but hackers have found another way to take over your iPhone.
By setting up fake iPhone charging stations, some hackers have been able to tap into iPhones and obtain personal information. Here's the good news: Apple's next iOS 7 update will prevent fake charging stations from taking over iPhones.
Apple's New iOS 7 Updates
At the Black Hat security convention held yesterday, security professionals alerted Apple to the hacking problem. Here's how the hack works: hackers set up fake charging stations equipped with Linux computers programmed to hack into iOS devices. Once a device has been hacked, hackers can gain control of a device. This, in turn, can lead to all kinds of problems.
Apple responded to the vulnerability news by stating that the bug has already been fixed in the developer version of iOS 7, which has already been released. The company will updated all user phones with the patch once ready for consumers.
When updated, iOS phones will alert users that the phone is about to be connected to a computer and not a charging station. This pop-up alert is something that Android phones already do, which is why Android phones are not susceptible to this particular type of attack.
The Black Hat Conference
The hack that can plague iPhones is not the first type of attack targeted at iOS devices, but conferences like the Black Hat conference help thousands of security experts share and learn about possible security threats. Security experts work as "White Hackers" year round to find possible security problems with devices. These experts then relate any unknown problems to other security experts during the Black Hat conference.
White hacking is important to the security of many different devices, and it's the one reason why popular hackers are often hired by companies. These hackers are asked to find possible security issues, so that companies can fix the issues. Although Apple claims that the company already knew about the charging station hacks, many additional security problems were addressed during the conference as well.
In the Meantime...
Since Apple's charging station patch is not available to consumers yet, there are some things you can do to avoid this type of hack.
1. Make sure you know where you are plugging your phone. Even though some charging stations look harmless, you could be setting your phone up for a hack.
2. Try not to use charging stations until the update has been widely released.
3. Charge your phone at home.
Currently, iPhones will not alert users that are about to plug a phone into a computer, and it's really tough to discern a reputable charging station from a setup. However, the steps above will make this process safer.
Apple, and other companies, are taking the information learned during the Black Hat conference and applying those details to all kinds of devices. This means that you can expect an iOS 7 (and other) update this coming fall.