Apple Downplays Google Report As ‘Misleading’

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Last week, Google’s Project Zero pointed out that iPhones using iPhone’s built-in web browser, Safari, was vulnerable to malware attacks through several malicious websites.


Apple has now criticized Google’s reports of the significant iOS security vulnerability, which said its rival had overstated the effects of the situation.

The Google Research Group, Project Zero, describes a flaw that could compromise user data (such as files, messages and locations) if a user visits a malicious website with an affected device.


“There was no target discrimination; simply visiting the hacked site was enough for the exploit server to attack your device, and if it was successful, install a monitoring implant,”

Project Zero Report

Apple’s Defense

Six months earlier, the vulnerability was patched, and Apple says that the issue had already been resolved when Google contacted them. In reality, it was noted that the issue was only resolved ten days later.

That said, Apple has raised concerns about the disclosure by Google. It disputes the idea that the target was ‘indiscriminate’ and argues that fewer than a dozen sites were impacted – primarily those serving Chinese Uighur community and says the post unnecessarily caused panic among iOS users.


“Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of ‘mass exploitation’ to ‘monitor the private activities of entire populations in real-time,’ stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case.”

Apple

Apple considers the overall safety of the iOS platform to be a primary differentiator, so the matter for the company is sensitive. Hence, it claims the issue was being blown out of proportion by Google.

Three years ago, the company launched an iOS bug bounty program offering an estimated $200,000 for ethical hackers reporting vulnerabilities sensibly. But this year, the upper limit has increased to $1 million, a move that would counter accusations that the advantages provided are too low.

Google’s Standing By Its Report

 The timeline of iOS hacks as illustrated by Project Zero.
The timeline of iOS hacks as illustrated by Project Zero.

Following these developments, Project Zero has issued a statement standing by its “in-depth research which was written to focus on the technical aspects of these vulnerabilities.” 

Apple says that these technical aspects have failed to take into account the vital detail that the Android system of Google itself was also part of that scheme, which Apple feels is a low blow. 

Considering Apple’s upcoming annual launch event this month, Apple seems to be slightly sensitive about these recent developments. 

Author

Anirudh Muley
Anirudh Muley
Anirudh is the Editor in Chief and Main Writer at Clickdotme. He does not like describing himself in the third-person and had a hard time coming up with these two sentences!
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Apple Downplays Google Report As Misleading
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Apple Downplays Google Report As Misleading
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Last week, Google's Project Zero pointed out that iPhones using iPhone's built-in web browser, Safari, was vulnerable to malware attacks through several malicious websites.
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