Apple yesterday made a number of security updates to its iOS mobile operating system, including a fix for a Wi-Fi chip vulnerability that could let hackers gain wireless access to iPhones and iPads.
The iOS 10.3.3 update addresses nearly four dozen security flaws, one of which, called “Broadpwn,” lies in the Broadcom Wi-Fi chip used in many iPhones and Android devices. Google announced an Android fix for Broadpwn earlier this month. Apple’s patch is available for the iPhone 5 and later, 4th-generation and later iPads, and the 6th-generation iPod touch.
The vulnerability could allow a remote actor to trigger a memory corruption error via Wi-Fi on a user’s mobile device, according to details on Broadpwn from Security Tracker. That error could then enable the hacker to execute arbitrary code on the device without any actions by the user.
Chip Vulnerability on ‘Millions’ of Devices
Apple credits discovery of the Wi-Fi vulnerability to Nitay Artenstein, a security researcher with Exodus Intelligence. Artenstein is scheduled to discuss his findings later this month during a briefing at the Black Hat information security conference in Las Vegas.
“Remote exploits that compromise Android and iOS devices without user interaction have become an endangered species in recent years,” Artenstein said in a description of his coming Black Hat presentation. “Such exploits present a unique challenge: Without access to the rich scripting environment of the browser, exploit developers have been having a hard time bypassing mitigations such as DEP and ASLR.”
Rather than targeting a mobile device’s operating system, though, Broadpwn takes aim at the Wi-Fi system on chip (SoC) that’s used to handle a device’s wireless connectivity. The vulnerability exists on “millions” of Android and iOS devices featuring the Broadcom SoC, Artenstein said.
“The Broadcom BCM43xx family of Wi-Fi chips is found in an extraordinarily wide range…