Apple iOS Security Evaluation: Vulnerability Analysis and Data Encryption presented at BlackhatUSA 2011

by Dino Dai Zovi,


Summary : As the popular smartphone platforms have increased in popularity with consumers, many enterprises and businesses are considering broadening their support beyond their traditionally support platforms. These new smartphone platforms such as iOS and Android, however, come with a lack of detailed understanding of their security features and shortcomings. This presentation is the result of an extended assessment of the security mechanisms and features of Apple's iOS with an emphasis on the concerns of an enterprise considering a deployment of iOS-based devices or allowing employees to store sensitive business data on their personal devices.
iOS 4 implements several key security mechanisms: Trusted Boot, Mandatory Code Signing, Code Signing Enforcement, Sandboxing, Device Encryption, Data Protection, and (as of iOS 4.3) Address Space Layout Randomization. Each of these mechanisms' precise operation is documented in detail as revealed through static and dynamic binary analysis, as well as their strengths and any identified weaknesses.
We examine and document the risks of a lost device or a remote iOS compromise through a malicious web page or e-mail. Finally, based on the strengths and weaknesses identified, concrete recommendations will be made on what compensating measures an organization can and should take when deploying iOS-based devices for business use.