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Time Stamp Bug Found in iOS 5 Can Leave Locked iPhone Photos Viewable

It is no secret that when it comes to mobile OS security, it is safe to say that Apple's iOS is one of tightest. However, it is far from perfect, security wise and there have been numerous instances when the iOS was compromised, although nothing as serious as let us say, compared to Android. Well today, a bug was discovered on iOS 5 that could leave one's locked photos for everyone to see.

iPhone Locked Photos
In an iPhone that runs iOS 5, users are able to access the camera even from the lockscreen just by double-pressing the Home button. But when you attempt to view the photo gallery, you will be met with a message that states, "Unlock your iPhone to see all of your photos and videos." Now you can test this particular bug just by going into your iPhone's settings and changing the date to sometime in the past. Now if you try to access the photo gallery again through the camera shortcut from the lockscreen, you should now be able to see the photos that has been taken since that particular date.

According to Ade Barkah, the discoverer of the bug:

If your iPhone's clock ever rolls back, then all images with time stamps newer than your iPhone's clock will be viewable from your locked phone.

Now why would anyone want to roll the date and time backwards? For those who are traveling across time zones, their iOS device's date can be set incorrectly. In fact, this is how Barkah was able to discover the bug while he was traveling from Canada-to-Argentina. Aside from that, there is also the possibility of a software or hardware glitch that could reset the time on your iPhone to epoch time.

The point to all this is that Apple should not rely on a simple time stamp to restrict image access," he writes. "Changing the iPhone's clock--[forward or backward]--should not affect its security. We can't guarantee the clock will always monotonically [move] forward, and when it doesn't, the system should fail-secure.

Apple has still yet to comment on this particular issue but you can trust that the Cupertino company will address it right away, perhaps in the next iOS 5 firmware update. [via CNET]

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