Apple’s iPhone most recent security breach occurred in September 2021 when researchers discovered that Israeli spyware had infected iOS devices through a zero-click exploit. This exploit spyware was able to record users’ calls, messages, and emails, and even turn on their cameras and microphones without their knowledge.
Apple iPhone Security Breach by dates:
Below we’re going to break down the full history of Apple iPhone security breach, starting with the most recent.
Israeli spyware compromises Apple iPhone devices
In September 2021, researchers discovered that spyware called Pegasus had infected iPhones and other Apple devices through a “zero-click exploit” that gave the spyware far-reaching power over a user’s device. Once infected, the spyware can record calls and messages and even turn on the device’s camera and microphone without the user’s knowledge.
Apple corrected the exploit on September 13, 2021. The battle between legitimate companies and spyware developers like NSO Group continues – you can never be sure of your privacy with well-funded companies like this one. If you haven’t already, manually update any iOS device you own to keep your device safe.
Google discovers data exploit in Apple iPhones
In January 2019, Google researchers discovered a data exploit that affected an unknown number of iPhones. This exploit could infect users with surveillance spyware simply by visiting the wrong website on their iPhone. From there, hackers could access everything from their passwords to their address book to their email history.
After the discovery, these Google researchers reported the problem to Apple, and Apple fixed the exploit within ten days. It is not known how many iPhones are affected.
XcodeGhost malware puts 128 million iPhone users at risk
In 2015, a group of hackers repackaged their malicious version of Xcode, the application development tool for iOS and OS X. The hacked version, XcodeGhost, contained malware that supposedly gave hackers information about the device.
From there, XcodeGhost has been used by app developers mainly in China to develop at least 4,000 apps. The breach affected 128 million iPhone users, including 18 million in the United States.
At the time, Apple did not disclose the extent of the violation to the affected iPhone users. There were internal discussions about this, but Apple ultimately refused to notify those affected. The extent of the violation only became known in May 2021 in the lawsuit brought by Epic Games against Apple.
KeyRaider malware steals data from 225,000 jailbroken iPhones
KeyRaider, a form of malware targeting jailbroken iPhones, allowed attackers to access credentials, private keys, certificates, and online sales receipts from approximately 225,000 iPhone users. This type of malware has given attackers the ability to make purchases and also use these credentials to gain access to the personal information of people.
Only jailbroken devices were affected by the malware. Although the magnitude of the breach made it one of the largest to affect Apple devices, this particular breach only affected users who made changes to their devices that were not strictly authorized by Apple.
Lots of celebrity nude photos leaked in the iCloud incident
In September 2014, a group of hackers hacked into dozens of prominent iCloud accounts by compromising their credentials. From there, they stole hundreds of nude photos and posted them on the 4chan online forum.
Apple has denied that iCloud itself was hacked, saying the attack was instead the result of password breach and security issues. As far as we can tell, it appears to have been a spear-phishing attack: the attackers targeted certain people and tried to get their credentials so they could break into their accounts.
iOS Dev Center hacked and 275,000 developers exposed
Although this Apple data breach had no direct impact on consumers, the data was disclosed by around 275,000 registered third-party developers through the Apple Developer Portal. Developer names and IDs were revealed after the attacker exploited a vulnerability, and postal and email addresses may also have been leaked.
However, the person responsible for the violation claimed that his intentions were not bad. Instead, they claimed their goal was to uncover exploitable bugs and report anything they discovered to Apple so that the company can take appropriate action. The person also claims that the portal was taken offline after the tech giant warned about the errors.
Apple has confirmed that the system was accessed by an unauthorized person. In addition, the company said registered developers’ personal information may have been disclosed.
Some developers who may have been affected also had to perform password resets. Although passwords were never explicitly listed as exposed, this decision suggests that password details may have been visible to an attacker or that password-related data was copied, although it is not clear whether this was the case.
Bluetoad announces 12 million Apple device IDs
In August 2012, the AntiSec hacking group published 12 million Apple device IDs online. They claimed they received this data after taking the computer from an FBI agent in March 2012.
Anyway, it doesn’t look like Apple played a major role in this particular data breach – although its customers were certainly affected.
AT&T Breach reveals email addresses to 14,000 iPad users
In June 2010, two hackers exploited a vulnerability in the AT&T telephone network and stole the e-mail addresses of 114,000 iPad users using a brute force attack. This vulnerability appears to be entirely in the hands of AT&T – it occurred over their network, not Apple devices or services.