High-value targets: Not every iPhone owner qualifies

Your iPhone may be vulnerable to an attack, but it doesn't mean you're going to get one.


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You probably thought you were being safe. You wear a mask, you social distance, you immerse yourself in a vat of chlorine every 15 minutes. But were you practicing safe emailing?

Not if you were using Mail on an iPhone, apparently.

Writing for the Forbes contributor network, recipient of the 2020 “Site We’d Most Like To Social Distance From” Award, Gordon Kelly thinks you don’t have enough to worry about.

“Apple Confirms New Warning Affecting Almost All iPhone Users.”

Affecting in much the same way that the gravity of Jupiter affects us all.

Apple has already released the best iPhone of 2020…

We haven’t seen most of them, but let’s go ahead and declare a winner now and beat the rush.

…but now millions of iPhone owners - both old and new…

The old ones… and the new ones. Presumably also all the ones in between. Left handed and right handed. Proper over-the-top toilet paper roll hangers and incorrect down-the-back toilet paper roll hangers.

…need to be careful because the company has just confirmed a massive iOS security hole which impacts almost every iPhone on the planet.

You may be being hacked right now! Someone may be stealing all those deal coupons and heartfelt reminders from giant corporations that “we’re all in this together” from your inbox as we speak!

So what are we dealing with? What ZecOps discovered is a serious vulnerability in Apple’s iOS Mail app which allows an attacker to remotely infect an iPhone and gain control over their inbox.

The Macalope is not here to dispute any of the particulars of the vulnerability, he’s only here to dispute the assertion that every iPhone owner should be very afraid right now.

Turns out it is possible to write about security vulnerabilities without trying to scare the sweatpants (if you’re even wearing pants) off everyone. Writing for TidBITS, for example, Glenn Fleishman (who is also a Macworld contributor) doesn’t seem to share the panic.

“iOS Mail Exploits Serious but Unlikely to Affect Normal Users.”

Oh. You mean The Macalope shouldn’t have thrown his iPhone into the ocean? Well, at least his second generation iPhone SE is water-resistant. If this had happened a couple of weeks ago it would have been bad.

Since a payload that can break out of Mail and perform other actions is required, the exploits are useful only to government actors or major criminal rings.

In other words, while this is an effective attack, it’s not cheap to execute, so they’re not going after your collection of furry photos. Ted. So, if you’re pondering whether or not this is something you should worry about, ask yourself this simple question: Are you Jeff Bezos, Angela Merkel or James Bond?

If you are not, then you probably shouldn’t worry about it.

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