Apple Smartphone Lacks Security? iPhone Hacked / Cracked in 20 Seconds? The Whole Story

Wednesday, March 24, 2010
By OP Editor

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In the upcoming days, some people will inevitably say “iPhone was hacked in 20 seconds” or “iPhone was first to be hacked,” implying that the Apple smartphone is the most insecure device tested at security contest Pwn2Own. However, most of these reports are conveniently missing the whole story.

Apple iPhone Hacked Pwned Pwn2Own CanSecWest 2010 "First"

Yes it happened. An exploit against the Apple iPhone was successful at Pwn2Own / CanSecWest 2010 today, on the first day of the hacker contest.

The press release goes: “Ralf-Philipp Weinmann (a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Luxembourg) and Vincenzo Iozzo (a researcher at zynamics) owned the iPhone at PWN2OWN today. A bug in Safari was exploited that extracted the SMS database from the phone and uploaded it to a server.”

Arstechnica wrote an article ahead of time titled: “iPhone will be first mobile device to fall at Pwn2Own 2010?” How did they know that?


Pwn2Own 2010 is a hacking contest. It tests popular OS, browsers, and software including Mac OS X, Windows for security. Hackers prepare pre-cooked exploits ahed of the contest to unleash. Prize for successful exploit is cash and the device that is pwned.

In exchange for the prize, the hackers essentially sell the exploit to the contest, which will inform the software maker, and release the details of the hack when the software is patched.

It’s a great idea with the goal of making software safer, but some sensational headlines and misleading myths have resulted from the contest, including:

  • Apple device is hacked in xyz seconds
  • Mac / iPhone is first to be hacked

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Tags: Analysis, Apple, iPhone, Microsoft, Myths, Security, Windows

2 Responses to “Apple Smartphone Lacks Security? iPhone Hacked / Cracked in 20 Seconds? The Whole Story”

  1. Don

    A great and insightful post, and one that I quoted from on my own little blog – thanks!

    ["blogpsot" typo corrected to blogspot - OP Editor]


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