Researchers said they have identified a flaw in Apple's iOS that makes it possible for attackers to surreptitiously log every touch a user makes, including characters typed into the keyboard, TouchID presses, and adjustments to the volume control.
The vulnerability affects even non-jailbroken iPhones and iPads running iOS versions 7.0.4, 7.0.5, and 7.0.6, as well as those running on 6.1.x, researchers from security firm FireEye wrote in a blog post published Monday night. They said attackers could carry out the covert monitoring using an app that bypasses Apple's stringent app review process. The app uses multitasking capabilities built into iOS to capture user inputs. The blog post explained:
We have created a proof-of-concept "monitoring" app on non-jailbroken iOS 7.0.x devices. This “monitoring” app can record all the user touch/press events in the background, including touches on the screen, home button press, volume button press and TouchID press, and then this app can send all user events to any remote server, as shown in Fig.1. Potential attackers can use such information to reconstruct every character the victim inputs.
Note that the demo exploits the latest 7.0.4 version of iOS system on a non-jailbroken iPhone 5s device successfully. We have verified that the same vulnerability also exists in iOS versions 7.0.5, 7.0.6 and 6.1.x. Based on the findings, potential attackers can either use phishing to mislead the victim to install a malicious/vulnerable app or exploit another remote vulnerability of some app, and then conduct background monitoring.
Shortly before the blog post went live, FireEye published a separate brief that was quickly removed. According to an RSS reader cache that preserved the earlier post, part of it said: "FireEye successfully delivered a proof-of-concept monitoring app through the App Store that records user activity and sends it to a remote server. We have been collaborating with Apple on this issue."