According to computer researchers, Apple’s restrictions on code signing on iOS devices have a flaw which helps attackers to spread their applications in the App Store and use them to download and execute their malicious code. Though Apple declares that it carefully examines applications submitted by third-party developers in order to prevent malware, company has allowed Safari to run unapproved code in order to increase its speed. However, this was found to help not only for Apple users but for hackers as well who got an ability to use their apps for downloading unapproved codes and use them for malicious purposes.
This surprising fact was found by famous researcher Charlie Miller, who submitted an app called InstaStock back in September. No matter that this app contained a hidden payload which was capable to download new unapproved code and execute it additionally, it was checked and approved by Apple. Miller simply designed himself a remote shell which, after being offered to users in the App Store, could access to the device and make it follow his commands, like run various programs or download files.
Miller notified Apple about this flaw in October but received the opposite reaction from them: not only his app was removed for the App Store, but he has also been removed from the iOS Developer Program because he was said to violate the agreement that does not allow to “hide, misrepresent or obscure” any part of the submitted apps. We believe that the flaw has? been also eliminated and such research can’t be repeated again.