Google recently revealed that iPhones' security had been breached, detailing five security flaws that allowed hackers to gain access to iPhones in certain communities over a period of two years. The exploit worked through malicious websites, which upon visiting could compromise iPhone's security. The vulnerability was patched in February, but Google shared its findings only last week and Apple has finally responded.
Apple acknowledged the exploit, which was fixed in iOS 12.1.4 update on February 7, but also slammed Google for creating false iPhone hack scare. It was reported by Google "that thousands of users" visited the infected site and it looked like a state-sponsored attack targeting sites sharing information on China's Uighurs, a Muslim minority group considered a security threat by Beijing.
In response to the detailed findings by Google's Project Zero researchers, Apple released a statement suggesting the exaggeration of the discoveries.
"Google's post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of "mass exploitation" to "monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time," stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case," Apple said in a statement on Friday.
Apple also clarified on its part that the attack was "narrowly focused" and affected fewer than a dozen websites that focused on content related to the Uighur community. The iPhone maker also said that the website attacks were operational for roughly two months and not two years as implied by Google. Finally, Apple noted that when Google reported its findings, they had already been working on a fix, which then came out within days.
Google's Project Zero team is focused on finding security flaws in software and hardware of all types and categories. Despite the rivalry between Apple and Google, the Project Zero team does not target Apple alone. But the findings came at a crucial time for Apple, which is going to launch their new iPhone 11 series at an event on September 10. Apple's response to the scare certainly boosts its users' morale in the iOS and restores the hype for the upcoming iOS update and iPhones.