Apple iOS 6 Release Approaches: Security Flaw Users Should Look Out For, Apple Responds [FEATURES]

 @LisaEadicicco
on August 19 2012 4:56 PM

Apple's next mobile operating system, iOS 6, is set for a fall release date, but hackers have already found a flaw within the software. It was reported that the SMS messaging in iOS 6 can be manipulated so that the sender of the message can change the "Reply To" number to a different number from the original.

The alleged security flaw was discovered on Friday, and Apple responded to the concerns the next day.

"Apple takes security very seriously," representatives from the Cupertino, Calif.-based company told The Verge on Saturday. "When using iMessage instead of SMS, addresses are verified which protects against these kinds of spoofing attacks."

The hacker, known as Pod2g, reportedly said in a blog post that this flaw has existed since 2007 when the first iPhone was released, and still hasn't been addressed with iOS 6.

The SMS Message app shows users and sends any replies to the number that is specified in the "Reply To" field, The Verge reports. However, this field can be spoofed when sending a message to any phone.

This loophole means that a user could send iPhone users messages pretending to be from the receiver's banks or other trusted sources. As a result, users could ask for personal information from other iPhone users without them known the identity of the sender.

"Now you are alerted," Pod2g wrote in the blog post. "Never trust any SMS you received on your iPhone at first sight."

The Apple spokesperson also told The Verge that it is crucial for mobile device users to remember that this issue exists in any SMS service, not only those used on the iPhone.

"One of the limitations of SMS is that it allows messages to be sent with spoofed addresses to any phone," the spokesperson said. "So we urge customers to be extremely careful if they're directed to an unknown website or address over SMS. "

Although this issue with SMS messaging is one that exists on all platforms, it is likely that Apple will make some alterations to its iOS 6 software before the operating system is launched, Bryan Bishop of The Verge believes.

"That said, with all the attention the matter has been getting, we wouldn't be surprised to see Cupertino tweak the application to try to resolve any confusion before iOS 6 is released later this year," he wrote.

But this text messaging issue isn't the only feature to spark some controversy among iPhone users waiting for iOS 6. It was recently reported that the next iteration of Apple's mobile operating system will not come with the YouTube app pre-installed.

A survey conducted by CouponCodes4U last week provided evidence that users are disappointed by this omission.  The company surveyed 2,135 Americans between the ages of 18-30, 67 of which said that they own an iPhone.

Of that percentage, 63 percent said that they use the pre-installed YouTube app. Furthermore, 41 percent said that they use this app more than four times a week.

All of the respondents were asked how they felt about Apple's plans to drop YouTube -- a subsidiary of Apple's nemesis Google -- from iOS 6.  At 55 percent, more than half said that the decision was "disappointing."

Apple is also axing Google Maps from its inventory of apps, and will be rolling out its own self-branded maps app to roll out with iOS 6. In addition, here are the other features expected to come to iOS devices in the fall:

-             Siri

-          Accessibility

-          Features From OS X "Mountain Lion," such as a 'Do Not Disturb' feature in the Notification Center .

-          Passbook

-          Custom Email Alerts

-          Clock for iPad

-          Reminders Badges

-          Find My Friends Optimized

-          Bluetooth Enhancements

-          Updating Apps

-          "New" Banners

-          Dictionaries in the Cloud

-          Color-Matching Menu Bar

-          Faux Light Reflection

-          Facebook Integration 

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