iOS 6.1 lockscreen bug gives hackers access to contacts, photos, messages

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A new security vulnerability discovered in Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS 6.1 enables anyone to bypass an iPhone's lockscreen, granting them access to a series of core device functions.

First identified in a YouTube clip posted by an iPhone user and since corroborated in tests conducted by publications including AppleInsider and The Verge, the lockscreen exploit involves making and immediately canceling a call from the emergency dial screen, then hitting the power button several times to load the Phone App button. The Phone App allows anyone to access the iPhone's dialer, contact list, voicemail box, call history, messages, photos and FaceTime.

Apple has not yet responded to requests for comment. A similar bug affected iOS 4.1 in late 2010, and was quickly patched with the release of the iOS 4.2 update.

Apple issued iOS 6.1 to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices two weeks ago. Some iPhone 4S owners soon began complaining the update accelerated battery drain and prompted some overheating issues, and over the weekend, British operator Vodafone even warned subscribers not to upgrade iPhone 4S models after determining the software triggered 3G connectivity problems.

Apple responded earlier this week with the release of iOS 6.1.1, fixing the performance and reliability issues. However, the company said Wednesday it is still scrambling to address another bug preventing some iPhone and iPad users from syncing their mobile mailbox with Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Exchange Server 2010.

iOS 6 users (including iOS 6.0, 6.1, and 6.1.1) now generate 83.1 percent of all iOS web traffic in North America, according to online advertising network Chitika. iOS 6.1.1 accounted for 1.4 percent of all North American iOS impressions within 24 hours of release, Chitika adds.

For more:
- read this Gizmodo UK article
- read this Verge article
- read this AppleInsider article

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