The accusations Google recently made about iOS security flaws were greatly overstated, deliberately “stoking fear” in iPhone users, according to Apple. The iPhone maker points out that the issues were much more narrow than its rival indicated, and were online for only a brief time.
Apple claims Google overstated the problem
Google’s Project Zero team said last week it found gaping security holes in iPhone software that left users exposed to hackers. A statement from Apple admits that there were security vulnerabilities, but these were not a severe as Google claimed.
According to the iPhone maker, few people would have ever run across the websites where they could have been hacked. “The sophisticated attack was narrowly focused, not a broad-based exploit of iPhones ‘en masse’ as described. The attack affected fewer than a dozen websites that focus on content related to the Uighur community,” noted Apple.
It’s been theorized that that this was a targeted attack by the Chinese government on the Uyghur community.
Also, Google said that iPhones were vulnerable to these attacks for years, while Apple insists it was a much shorter time. “All evidence indicates that these website attacks were only operational for a brief period, roughly two months, not ‘two years’ as Google implies,” said the iPhone maker’s statement.
Apple concludes by stating, “Our product security teams around the world are constantly iterating to introduce new protections and patch vulnerabilities as soon as they’re found. We will never stop our tireless work to keep our users safe.”
Both companies say that the problems, whatever their severity, were cleared up six months before Google made its accusations. Of course, this requires installing updated versions of iOS. Anyone still running older versions going back to iOS 10 remains potentially vulnerable.