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Google Project Zero Researchers Disclose 5 ‘Zero Interaction’ iMessage Flaws, 4 Fixed in iOS 12.4

One of the flaws can allow an attacker to read contents of files on iPhone.

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Google Project Zero Researchers Disclose 5 ‘Zero Interaction’ iMessage Flaws, 4 Fixed in iOS 12.4

CVE-2019-8641 vulnerability remains unpatched for now

Highlights
  • CVE-2019-8660 is a memory corruption flaw
  • Two of the disclosed flaws can lead to the crash of iPhone GUI
  • One of the researchers will detail the flaws at Black Hat USA 2019

Google Project Zero team has yet again found a number of security vulnerabilities in Apple's iOS operating system. Two members of the Project Zero team discovered five new “zero interaction” flaws in iMessage that could allow an attacker to all sorts of malicious things on an iPhone, ranging from crashing an app to reading contents of a file. Apple has fixed five of the disclosed vulnerabilities, but one flaw remains unpatched right now.

According to a series of tweets published by Google Project Zero's Natalie Silvanovich, the researcher with Samuel Grob found five vulnerabilities in Apple's iMessage. These vulnerabilities are being called zero interaction as they don't require the user to do anything apart from opening a malicious iMessage. As Apple has already fixed four of these vulnerabilities in the recently released iOS 12.4 - CVE-2019-8647, CVE-2019-8624, CVE-2019-8646, and CVE-2019-8660 – their details are now public. However, CVE-2019-8641 is still unpatched, so the researchers are keeping its details secret until 90 days disclosure deadline.

The biggest of the newly disclosed flaws is CVE-2019-8646 and it impacts devices running iOS 12 and above. The flaw allows potential attackers to read contents of files stored on an iOS device without any user interaction.

Among other iMessage flaws, CVE-2019-8660 is a memory corruption flaw and CVE-2019-8624 as well as CVE-2019-8647 can cause crash of iOS SpringBoard, which manages the iOS graphical user interface (GUI).

In addition to these flaws, Natalie Silvanovich was also responsible for finding CVE-2019-8662, which is although not directly released to iMessage, but can be triggered though the messaging app.

Natalie Silvanovich will be talking more about the bugs at the upcoming Black Hat USA 2019 conference.

To recall, Apple had released iOS 12.4 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users. In addition to a number of bug fixes, the update included a new feature to transfer data wirelessly between two iPhone models and enhancements for Apple News+.

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