By Ryan Singel
June 13, 2007
Like many geeks, security researcher David Maynor is eager to get his
hands on an iPhone. Unlike many geeks, Maynor also has harsh feelings
about the Think Different company and what he says is an undisclosed
vulnerability in Apple's Safari browser that he hopes will let him hack
into the hugely anticipated device.
After Apple released the beta version of Maynor took a whack at Apple's
Safari browser for Windows using fairly easily available bug-finding
tools and says he found six bugs in a day. Maynor says one of them
allows him to execute code remotely and he's "weaponized" it, according
to his blog.
"One of the six is robust. I'm going to work on better remote execution
and then wait for the iPhone," Maynor told THREAT LEVEL today as part of
an interview for a Wired News story running Thursday. "Everyone I know
is eager to hack the iPhone. Maybe that would actually break into it."
"I'm going to the first in line," he added later, saying that after
Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced that developers can write apps for the
iPhone through Safari, "it's going to be a free-for-all."
For for those who don't know, Maynor and Apple are not friends. Far from
He refuses to report bugs to Apple following an incident last summer
when he divulged a wireless driver bug to Apple. He later demoed an
exploit on a non-Apple wireless adapter in a video to a conference.
Apple then tried to make him say the code wouldn't work on a MacBook and
denied he provided Apple with enough info for them to find the bug.
Mac backers accused Maynard and security journalist Brian Krebs of
overblowing the situation. Apple later patched the bug with no mention
of Maynard. While Maynard was not able to reveal emails he sent from his
employer at the time, he was largely vindicated when he released some
emails to and from Apple in a later presentation, though he did
apologize for the manner in which he publicized the exploit.
It was an ugly fight, and now Maynor may be holding a zero-day exploit
for the iPhone. He's certainly not going to let it loose in the wilds,
but if you were an Apple engineer, wouldn't you have nightmares about
that very possibility?
I mean what malicious hacker wouldn't want to be the first to control an
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