An iOS user Jose Rodriguez, who discovered a passcode bypass related flaw in iOS 12 last month, has now identified another passcode bypass bug in the recently released iOS 12.0.1. According to Rodriguez, a Spanish security researcher, the new bug offers an easy access to Photo Library of any locked iPhone. An attacker can select and send photos to anyone who uses Apple Messages.
However, the process of the passcode bypass isn’t a simple one. There are around a dozen steps to be followed to make the trick work. But, in comparison to the previous hack, it is easier since that one involved 37 steps. The process has been demonstrated by Rodriguez in a video.
Both of the passcode bypass bugs that Rodriguez discovered are quite similar. The one he discovered in September also allowed access to photos and contacts in iOS 12. It was patched in the iOS version 12.0.1 update.
It must be noted that the new hack makes the iPhone user vulnerable to the risk of getting private pictures exposed to a distrustful partner/friend/colleague/roommate. This means, those whom you don’t want to share your personal pictures with can easily access them without your permission. Moreover, it works on all current models of iPhone that run on latest iOS versions iOS 12 to iOS 12.0.1, including iPhone X and iPhone XS.
The process of passcode bypass uses Siri and VoiceOver screen reader, which is a service for sight-impaired users, to trick the security defenses of your iPhone. The steps are as follows:
- Using any other phone, make a call to the targeted iPhone. In case you don’t have the target’s phone number, ask Siri “Who I am” or you can ask Siri to call your phone number digit by digit.
- There is no need to pick up the phone to answer the incoming call. Instead, you need to tap on Messages>Custom to reply through text message.
- Type anything in the message box
- Now, you need to ask Siri to activate VoiceOver
- Once it is enabled, tap on the camera icon
- Keep Siri invoked while at the same time press the Home button on the iPhone and double-tap the screen. This may require several attempts so, keep repeating until you succeed
- You will note that the screen has turned black. This means, you have successfully tricked the iOS
- Swipe your finger on the top left corner of the screen, where VoiceOver will start reading the selected icon. You need to keep on swiping until it reads Photo Library
- To select Photo Library, simply double tap on the screen; you will be taken to the message screen again but instead of the keyboard there will be a blank space. That’s an invisible Photo Library
- Swipe your finger again to where VoiceOver is located on the screen so that it starts reading the characteristics of each photo out loud
- When you double tap on a chosen photo, it will be displayed and added to the text box as well.
- You can send the picture to any number now
Apple is yet to fix this bug and perhaps it will take some time. So, to keep your device safe from the hack, disable Siri when your iPhone is locked. Just access Settings>Touch ID & Passcode to disable Siri.