Forget the debate around the security or insecurity of the iPhone 5s’s fingerprint reader. The latest version of the iPhone’s operating system currently offers a gaping hole in its old-fashioned passcode lockscreen.
Jose Rodriguez, a 36-year-old soldier living in Spain’s Canary Islands, has found a security vulnerability in iOS 7 that allows anyone to bypass its lockscreen in seconds to access photos, email, Twitter, and more. He shared the technique with me, along with the video above.
As the video shows, anyone can exploit the bug by swiping up on the lockscreen to access the phone’s “control center,” and then opening the alarm clock. Holding the phone’s sleep button brings up the option to power it off with a swipe. Instead, the intruder can tap “cancel” and double click the home button to enter the phone’s multitasking screen. That offers access to its camera and stored photos, along with the ability to share those photos from the user’s accounts, essentially allowing anyone who grabs the phone to hijack the user’s email, Twitter, Facebook FB +1.66% or Flickr account.
I tested the technique on an iPhone 5 running iOS 7, and it worked. Rodriguez’s video shows it working on an iPad, too. It’s not yet clear if the same exploit can bypass the lockscreen of an iPhone 5s or 5c, but Rodriguez tells me he believes it will.