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Three ways to get past the lock screen in Apple’s new iOS 7

Vulnerabilities have been discovered in the recently released iOS 7. Apple has issued updates to repair some of the bugs, but even the updates are not flawless. 
Three ways to get past the lock screen in Apple’s new iOS 7
Just one week after the release of iOS 7 it’s been downloaded by 200 million people according to some boffins from Chitika Insights. They discovered that 52 per cent of web traffic generated by Apple mobile devices came from people using the latest software. However, iOS 7 has come with some potentially serious vulnerabilities.
Accessing one’s personal photos by bypassing the lock screen of iOS 7
One of the most publicised flaws allows someone to bypass the lock screen and access the owner’s content. The bug used a weakness in the new Control Center feature in iOS 7 which offers quick access to functions including the camera, calculator, photos and alarms from the lock screen. At one level a hacker could access photos and send these pictures via email or post them on social channels like Facebook and Twitter, which could be potentially embarrassing. However, the flaw also allowed access to the phone owner’s contacts though email could not be read. Apple has just released a fix, which is surprisingly quick given that in the past the company has typically taken two weeks to fix security holes. So to safeguard against this you just need to simply update the OS to repair the flaw. But the fix is not flawless.
Accessing Facebook from an iPhone’s 5s lock screen
Siri, the voice control function, can be used to access someone’s Facebook from the lock screen. To stop this, you need to disable Siri in the lock screen (see below). However, another flaw is still outstanding and this one.
Making calls from a locked iPhone5s
It allows someone to potentially make calls from a locked phone, including to high-cost international and premium numbers. You can see how it’s done here. It works by simply tapping ‘Emergency’ on the lock screen, which brings up an emergency calling screen.  You then dial any number and rapidly tap the call button until the phone reverts to an empty screen with an Apple logo at the centre. The call is then made to that number. It might take a minute of tapping but it does work. There is no fix for this yet but we wanted to flag it up and warn you that if you’ve got an iPhone 5s you need to take care. Clearly the iPhone is a great device and the latest version iPhone 5s offers improvements on previous models. But no technology comes without its flaws.
Biometric security on the new iPhone5s – not so safe
For example, the much touted biometric security on the iPhone 5s supposedly offers fingerprint detection security. However, it’s already been hacked by simply taking a photo of someone’s fingerprint on a glass surface and using this to create a false fingerprint.  It does call into question whether biometrics should be seriously used as a security tool or whether it’s little more than a gimmick. Stay up to date with iOS 7 and Phone 5s developments with the BullGuard blog.

Written by Steve Bell

Steve has a background in IT and business journalism and has written extensively for both the UK national and trade press including The Guardian, Independent-on-Sunday, The Times, The Register, MicroScope and Computer Weekly. He's also worked for most of the world's largest IT companies producing content producing. He has a particular focus on IT security and has produced several magazines in this area.

More articles by Steve Bell

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