Developer Demonstrates iOS Phishing Attack That Uses Apple-Style Password Request

Developer Felix Krause today shared a proof of concept phishing attack that's gaining some traction as it clearly demonstrates how app developers can use Apple-style popups to gain access to an iPhone user's Apple ID and password.

As Krause explains, iPhone and iPad users are accustomed to official Apple requests for their Apple ID and password for making purchases and accessing iCloud, even when not in the App Store or iTunes app.


Using a UIAlertController that emulates the design of the system request for a password, developers can create an identical interface as a phishing tool that can fool many iOS users.
Showing a dialog that looks just like a system popup is super easy, there is no magic or secret code involved, it's literally the examples provided in the Apple docs, with a custom text.

I decided not to open source the actual popup code, however, note that it's less than 30 lines of code and every iOS engineer will be able to quickly build their own phishing code.
Though some of the system alerts would require a developer to have a user's Apple ID email address, there are also popup alerts that do not require an email and can recover a password.


The phishing method that Krause describes is not new, and Apple vets apps that are accepted to the App Store, but it's worth highlighting for iOS users who may not be aware that such a phishing attempt is possible.

As Krause says, users can protect themselves by being wary of these popup dialogues. If one pops up, press the Home button to close the app. If the popup goes away, it's tied to the app and is a phishing attack. If it remains, it's a system request from Apple.

Krause also recommends users dismiss popups and enter their credentials directly within the Settings app.

Krause has reported the issue to Apple and recommends a fix that would include Apple asking customers to enter their credentials into the Settings app rather than directly through a popup that can be easily mimicked. Alternatively, he suggests credential requests could include an app icon to indicate that an app is asking rather than the system.

As extra protection from attacks like this, Apple customers should enable two-factor authentication as it prevents attackers from being able to log into an Apple ID account without a code from a verified device.


Discuss this article in our forums

Developer Demonstrates iOS Phishing Attack That Uses Apple-Style Password Request

Developer Felix Krause today shared a proof of concept phishing attack that's gaining some traction as it clearly demonstrates how app developers can use Apple-style popups to gain access to an iPhone user's Apple ID and password.

As Krause explains, iPhone and iPad users are accustomed to official Apple requests for their Apple ID and password for making purchases and accessing iCloud, even when not in the App Store or iTunes app.


Using a UIAlertController that emulates the design of the system request for a password, developers can create an identical interface as a phishing tool that can fool many iOS users.
Showing a dialog that looks just like a system popup is super easy, there is no magic or secret code involved, it's literally the examples provided in the Apple docs, with a custom text.

I decided not to open source the actual popup code, however, note that it's less than 30 lines of code and every iOS engineer will be able to quickly build their own phishing code.
Though some of the system alerts would require a developer to have a user's Apple ID email address, there are also popup alerts that do not require an email and can recover a password.


The phishing method that Krause describes is not new, and Apple vets apps that are accepted to the App Store, but it's worth highlighting for iOS users who may not be aware that such a phishing attempt is possible.

As Krause says, users can protect themselves by being wary of these popup dialogues. If one pops up, press the Home button to close the app. If the popup goes away, it's tied to the app and is a phishing attack. If it remains, it's a system request from Apple.

Krause also recommends users dismiss popups and enter their credentials directly within the Settings app.

Krause has reported the issue to Apple and recommends a fix that would include Apple asking customers to enter their credentials into the Settings app rather than directly through a popup that can be easily mimicked. Alternatively, he suggests credential requests could include an app icon to indicate that an app is asking rather than the system.

As extra protection from attacks like this, Apple customers should enable two-factor authentication as it prevents attackers from being able to log into an Apple ID account without a code from a verified device.


Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Migrating iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra Users With Two-Step Verification to Two-Factor Authentication

Apple recently emailed Apple ID users with two-step verification enabled to inform them that, upon installing iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra, they will be automatically updated to its newer two-factor authentication method.


Apple introduced two-factor authentication in 2015 as an improved version of its two-step verification method for securing an Apple ID account by requiring both a password and a second form of verification. Two-factor authentication requires an Apple device with iOS 9, OS X El Capitan, watchOS 2, any tvOS version, or later.

The two security methods are similar in many ways, but two-factor authentication automatically sends a six-digit verification code to all trusted devices registered to a given Apple ID, whereas two-step verification manually prompts users to send a four-digit code to any SMS-capable trusted device registered.

Two-factor authentication also displays a map on all trusted devices with an approximate location of where an Apple ID sign-in attempt occurred when a user is trying to access the account from an unknown device or on the web.


Apple's two-factor authentication method disables the Recovery Key by default, since offline verification codes can be generated on trusted devices in the Settings app. On iOS, users can still enable the Recovery Key as a backup method in Settings > Apple ID > Password & Security > Recovery Key.

The full text of the email is copied below:
If you install the iOS 11 or macOS High Sierra public betas this summer and meet the basic requirements, your Apple ID will be automatically updated to use two-factor authentication. This is our most advanced, easy-to-use account security, and it's required to use some of the latest features of iOS, macOS, and iCloud.

Once updated, you'll get the same extra layer of security you enjoy with two-step verification today, but with an even better user experience. Verification codes will be displayed on your trusted devices automatically whenever you sign in, and you will no longer need to keep a printed recovery key to make sure you can reset a forgotten password.
iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra public betas will be available in late June through the Apple Beta Software Program. The software updates will be available for all eligible iOS devices and Macs in the fall.


Discuss this article in our forums

Apple Updates iTunes Remote App With Two-Factor Authentication for Home Sharing

Apple today updated its iTunes Remote app, which is designed to allow users to control their iTunes libraries from anywhere in the home.

The new update adds support for Apple's Two-Factor Authentication system, adding an extra layer of security when signing in for Home Sharing purposes. Using Home Sharing will now require a verified device or a verified phone number that can receive a Two-Factor Authentication code, preventing an unauthorized user from accessing a home library with just a password.

For those unfamiliar with Two-Factor Authentication, it is an opt-in system that's designed to increase the security of Apple ID accounts. It asks users to provide a verified code when signing in to new devices, when using iCloud, and when using services like iMessage and FaceTime.

Apple's iTunes Remote app was last updated in September of 2016, adding iOS 10 compatibility and minor performance and stability improvements. The app lets users browse their iTunes libraries and send music to AirPlay speakers.

The iTunes Remote app can be downloaded from the App Store for free. [Direct Link]


Discuss this article in our forums