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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Governments Exploited iTune’s Vulnerabilities

The iTune’s vulnerability became an important issue in the digital landscape, particularly because it concerns such a huge company as Apple and the right to privacy.

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A report by the British online media revealed the truth behind secret services and iTune’s vulnerabilities, which could make even the most down to Earth person a bit paranoid. The report tells about some British company called Gamma International, which has been selling hacking software to various governments. This software allowed them to exploit iTunes vulnerability thanks to security vulnerability in the application’s update. Known as FinFisher, the software in question could be used to spy on users’ computers, since more than 250 million computers use Apple’s media player.

This software is known to be used by the UK intelligence agencies, making its way in the hands of Egypt’s secret police, according to the records discovered in 2011 in some abandoned offices. Security experts confirmed that Apple received a notice three years ago about the vulnerability in question. However, Apple only managed to release a patch fix this November, thus providing governments with a 3-years gateway of exploiting.

The report in question raised questions about when the company knew about this software offering, and its timing in eliminating the security hole in this software title. Experts might get interested in the company’s response to security threats, which is usually 91 days, but here this time wasn’t the case.

Francisco Amato is a security researcher from Argentina. He was the one who sent the notice to the company years ago. Today he commented on the late, at the very least, response, claiming that perhaps Apple just forgot about it, or the issue was on the very bottom of the company’s to-do list. Talking about FinFisher, the company claimed that it’s doing all it can to find and fix any vulnerabilities that might compromise systems. Representatives of Apple keep insisting that the security and privacy of their users are extremely important.

This month iTunes’ update revealed that a man-in-the-middle attacker might provide software which appears to originate from Apple, saying that the problem has been “mitigated”. Meanwhile, Gamma International didn’t comment on the issue.

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