Listen: Security expert Dr Mark Gregory with Ray Kington, on the Apple iOS 9 security scare.
Anyone with an Apple iOS 9 iphone or ipad, is being urged to update their Apple software immediately—to avoid the risk of their social media, bank details and other private information being hacked.
Apple issued the iOS 9.3.5 upgrade this week on Thursday (USA-time), after being alerted to weaknesses in their latest software upgrade.
The flaws have already led to iphone intrusions by a malicious software company based in Israel, according to the New York Times. And reports say that governments may have tried to use the flaws to spy on activists and journalists. The weaknesses in the software were discovered not by Apple but by independent investigators at Citizen Lab.
The iOS update comes only three weeks after Apple released iOS 9.3.4.
‘Very Serious’ Says Australian IT Security Expert
Hope 103.2 asked internet security expert Dr Mark Gregory about the security breach.
A senior lecturer in network engineering in RMIT’s School of Engineering, Dr Gregory said it wasn’t a hoax, and that anyone with an iOS 9 Apple device should update “right now”—and also update their passwords.
“It’s very serious and people should update their devices immediately,” he told Hope 103.2’s Ray Kington. “What they’re not telling you is, if the researchers have found these holes in operating systems, it means that the bad guys have as well.
“So the smart thing [to do] is people should be changing their passwords on their devices and bank accounts and e-commerce and social media.
“Anything that you use through the phone, you should immediately take steps to protect.”
Dr Gregory described the security flaws as “glaring holes” in Apple’s software. Although Apple responded immediately, he believes the problem wouldn’t happen in the first place if Apple and other technology giants like it followed proper security testing procedures, rather than relying on ‘Beta-testing’.
“It’s a systemic fault of Microsoft, Apple, Google, to use the public for Beta testing.”
“This software should be thoroughly tested before it’s released,” he said. “It’s a systemic fault of these companies, Microsoft, Apple, Google, to use the general public…for Beta testing. It’s much cheaper. At this stage the customer base hasn’t reacted in a negative way. We haven’t been having the class actions that we need to have, to force these companies to do what they’re meant to do.”
He said mobile users weren’t inclined to sue big companies like Apple for credit card fraud or breaches in security, because most people don’t realise that they might be at fault.
“If someone’s hacked into one of these devices using one of these weaknesses, stolen all the information…they’re not going to put a message up saying ‘we’ve got your credit card details from your Apple device’. So when people lose money out of their account or credit card, it’s very difficult to link it back to the manufacturers of the mobile device.”
Update your Apple device now
The Macworld website is encouraging anyone with iOS9 to install the update on their device by opening Settings, then choosing General > Software Update.
“You also can update within iTunes, with your device connected to your Mac,” the Macworld writer advises.