If you have an Apple iPhone or iPad running iOS 8, 9, 10 and above, there is a way to gain access to the photos and contacts on your device without unlocking it with a passcode or fingerprint ID. The security flaw makes use of Siri voice commands. It's a bit finicky, but you don't have to be a genius-level hacker to exploit the vulnerability. Here are the details.
The owner of YouTube channel iDeviceHelp discovered the bug. He demonstrated in the video above that it's entirely possible to bypass to security measures on iOS devices with a few basic steps. iDeviceHelp's owner admits that he is no hacker and this security flaw is fairly easy exploit, but it does require some patience.
First, you will need physical access to the target device and Siri has to be enabled on it. You will also need another iOS device to make this work:
- Step 1: Ask Siri "Who am I?" to get details on the owner of the device, including the phone number.
- Step 2: Use another iOS device to make a FaceTime call to the target device.
- Step 3: The target device will prompt a message icon on the screen. Click it, then tap the 'Custom...' option and it will take you to a 'New Message' screen.
- Step 4: Long press on the home button to activate Siri and ask it to "Turn on VoiceOver".
- Step 5: Now for the tricky part. Go back to the message screen, double tap the caller name field at the top of the screen and immediately tap on the keyboard. Rinse and repeat until you see three icons pop up next to your text field. You can go back and turn off VoiceOver using Siri again.
- Step 6: You will now have access to the contacts on the device. You can pull up a list of contacts by typing in letters that correspond to the first letter of their names. Just pull up any one of them and tap the information icon, which will show up as 'i', next to the contact. This will bring you into the contact's profile.
- Step 7: In the profile, select 'Add Photo' and you'll be able to access the gallery on the device.
Now there have been other people out there were able able to replicate this process. The owner of YouTube Channel Everything Apple managed to do it on multiple iPhones:
We tried this process on two iPhones in the office (surprisingly, there aren't that many) and were unable to successfully make use of this security bug. One of the iPhones didn't show a keyboard when it went into 'New Message' and we couldn't move past step 5 on the other device. My partner has two iPhone 6s handsets so I will be trying this out again tonight and will update this article accordingly.
From what we understand, the bug also depends on a number of factors. If you haven't told Siri who you are on the phone, this may not work on your phone. You also need Siri to be turned on for the lock screen.
But since other people have been able to replicate this, we'd recommend disabling Siri on the lock screen, at least for the short term, by going to Settings > Touch ID & Passcode -> Disable Siri on the Lockscreen.
Have you tried this bug out on your iOS device? Has it worked for you? Let us know in the comments.