As iOS vulnerabilities emerge, a new app promises to detect hacked iPhones

(Reuters)

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A new program in the App Store is promising to help users detect if outsiders are lurking on their device.

The consulting firm Trail of Bits on Thursday announced iVerify, a toolkit meant to help users secure their accounts with a series of instructional guides. If the app works as intended, it also will scan iPhones for odd behavior that could prove its been hacked, like if other apps are transferring data in a way they shouldn’t be authorized. It’s available for $4.99 in the App Store, and is one of the first apps ever released in the marketplace meant to catch iPhone hacks, Motherboard reported.

“It’s normally almost impossible to tell if your iPhone has been hacked, but our app gives you a heads-up,” the company said in a blog post. “iVerify periodically scans your device for anomalies that might indicate it’s been compromised, gives you a detailed report on what was detected, and provides actionable advice on how to proceed.”

Researchers long have said that because iPhones limit how apps leverage user data, it’s much more difficult to examine whether a device has been breached. If security practitioners never know how an app uses credentials to begin with, for instance, they can’t know if credentials are suddenly being used in a malicious way.

By studying known iPhone hacks and public jailbreak techniques, the iVerify app will test a device’s readiness to withstand attacks. The app also checks whether users are using baseline security tactics like Face ID, screen lock and the most up-to-date iOS software.

Whether the app can detect intrusions onto the iPhone before iVerify was installed was not immediately clear.

This addition to the App Store comes after Apple confirmed that hackers exploited iPhone vulnerabilities to spy on the Uighur community, a Muslim minority subjected by the Chinese government to mass surveillance. Before that, Google investigators had announced attackers used breached websites to infect iOS devices, then access sensitive areas of the operating system to monitor a user’s location and communications including messages sent through encrypted apps.

The exploit broker Zerodium also announced the value of iOS hacking techniques had fallen in value because of more availability.

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Apple, Google, iPhone security, Trail of Bits
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