TECH

Apple iOS 10.3 Update Protects iPhones From Fake Ransomware

Yet another reason to download the software.

30/03/2017 11:10 BST | Updated 30/03/2017 11:15 BST

The latest update for the iPhone’s operating system thwarts cybercriminals’ attempts to con users with fake ransomware.

Hackers have been exploiting a bug to display an ‘irremovable’ pop-up in Safari that accused people of accessing illegal pornography or pirating music.

The message demanded users pay £100 in the form of an iTunes gift card to unlock the browser screen.

hocus-focus via Getty Images

While the popup appears to be irremovable, clearing the browser cache was enough to banish it.

The security researchers who first exposed the trick, which runs using JavaScript code, explained in a blog:

“The attack doesn’t actually encrypt any data and hold it ransom. Its purpose is to scare the victim into paying to unlock the browser before he realizes he doesn’t have to pay the ransom to recover data or access the browser.”

Professor Alan Woodward, a cybersecurity expert at Surrey University told the BBC that people were wrong to assume that Apple devices are invulnerable:

“This shines a light on the fact that nothing is invulnerable. JavaSript is cross-platform and it’s a matter of how you manage it.”

If the patch isn’t enough to convince you to download iOS 10.3, it’s worth bearing in mind that users have reported extra storage space after updating.

The update boasts a new file management system that could be responsible for freeing up valuable storage space.

The update also includes a nifty feature that locates users’ AirPods when they go amiss.

Here’s hoping 10.4 does something about iPhone’s pitiful battery life, but we won’t be holding our breath...