Researchers develop a virus that works even when iPhone is switched off

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Researchers develop a virus that works even when iPhone is switched off
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  • German researchers have created malware that works even when the iPhone is switched off.
  • According to them, the Bluetooth chip on the iPhone is not secure.
  • Researchers made the research public when they failed to get any feedback from Apple.
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Researchers at Germany’s Technical University of Darmstadt claim that several physical components of the iPhone including the chipset keep working in low power mode. Features such as Find my iPhone can be accessed even when iPhone is switched off. According to them, the useful feature comes with the potential to be exploited.

iPhone’s Bluetooth chip is responsible for geolocation via the Find My network and it cannot encrypt the code it runs. Researchers from the University of Darmstadt were able to take advantage of this chip’s inability to execute malware. It allowed them to track the iPhone’s position or activate different features while it is switched off.

The chip running in low power mode is not the same as iOS low power mode which allows you to save battery. It is a hardware-oriented feature known as LPM- that allows near-field communication, ultra-wideband and Bluetooth chip to work 24 hours even when a device is turned off.

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Researchers said, “Since LPM support is based on the iPhone’s hardware, it cannot be removed with system updates. Thus, it has a long-lasting effect on the overall iOS security model. To the best of our knowledge, we are the first who looked into undocumented LPM features introduced in iOS 15 and uncover various issues.”

Further researchers added, ‘there is a huge possibility for this loophole to be exploited. Our findings have limited value in real-world scenarios because for the potential exploit, jailbroken (bypassing all securities features) iPhone will work.”

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iPhones compromised with spyware such as Pegasus are likely to be more prone to such infections.

Later researchers said, they have informed Apple about their findings but did not get back any feedback. This is when we thought of making our findings public. Hopefully, this will compel Apple to enquire about the issues.

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