A warning for iPhone users: Beware of fake text messages from hackers.
According to the tech and social media news website Mashable, Apple has warned its customers to be wary of texts sent via SMS after a prominent hacker claimed to find a flaw in iOS, the operating system used by iPhones and iPads.
According to a blogger known as pod2g, who regularly writes about iOS security research, the flaw enables hackers to change what phone number a text message appears to come from. That could potentially lead users to trust senders they shouldn’t — like their bank or even a friend.
The flaw has allegedly existed since Apple added SMS, or Short Message Service, to the iPhone, and it still exists in iOS 6, the upcoming software upgrade expected to be released this fall alongside Apple’s next iPhone.
Apple responded to inquiries about the flaw with the following statement, suggesting that all iPhone users enable its iMessage system whenever possible:
“Apple takes security very seriously. When using iMessage instead of SMS, addresses are verified which protects against these kinds of spoofing attacks.
One of the limitations of SMS is that it allows messages to be sent with spoofed addresses to any phone, so we urge customers to be extremely careful if they’re directed to an unknown website or address over SMS.“
On the iPhone and other iOS devices, your texts sent via SMS appear on a green, speech bubble-shaped background, while replies sent via iMessage appear in a light blue bubble.
However, all messages you receive appear in a light gray speech bubbles. The app uses the headers “iMessage” and “Text Message” on the top of the app window to differentiate the two systems.