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Someone Can Brick Your iPad without Even Touching It

Someone Can Brick Your iPad without Even Touching It
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Remember when you’ve been clicking “Remind me later” when Apple constantly pushed the notification to update your iOS? Well this is one of those days where you regret actually not going for it while you still could. Newer updates from Apple always have newer security updates and it’s worthwhile to update your device immediately.

What does the bug do?

The bug remotely connects to your device if you have the WiFi option open, leaving you to connect automatically to the buggy router. This will instantly brick your device and you can run on the Apple loading logo forever, frozen till your battery runs out. Unfortunately, this bug is allegedly permanent – meaning there’s no cure. Your iDevice will become a useless paperweight. This will not be better even after restoring your iOS.

How does it work?

Basically, iPhone will connect to any WiFi network that it has connected to previously. This means the attacker would fake the rogue device to a name that’s commonly used by a lot of public WiFi networks, for example Starbucks, or a city’s central WiFi. Since most of us leave our WiFi networks seeking open, we’d connect on our own, the rogue device does its job immediately.

What’s the technical background?

By Spoofing the website to time.apple.com, hackers are able to roll back the date on the remote device without physically touching the device via the time synchronization. At first, devices will restart, then refuse to unlock. Then slowly heat up to an extent that it doesn’t load. Your device slowly cripples away because of an old bug which UNIX coding defines as the first year – or zero.

How can you protect yourself?

Essentially there’s no permanent fix except updating your iOS to 9.3.1. Any iOS lesser than that will still be vulnerable. Although slightly difficult, it is equally possible to run this bug on your iPhone since it has GSM signal interfering. But iPads will take less than a minute, if you’re just walking in the zone the rouge router can attract.

What iOS are you running on your device and do you plan to upgrade? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India

Edition: December 2016

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