Apple Expected To Release iOS 4.3.1 Security Update

An iOS 4.3.1 update is expected from Apple to patch security leaks and technical flaws, including a jailbreak vulnerability in the iPad 2. A hacker claims to have jailbroken the iPad 2, and Apple’s iPhone was hacked at the PWN2OWN contest. Apple’s iOS 4.3 for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone and iPod touch added some new features.

Less than two weeks after it released the latest version of its mobile operating system , Apple is set to roll out an update to patch security  leaks, according to a published report.

iOS 4.3.1 would patch security and technical flaws, including a jailbreak vulnerability for the brand-new iPad 2 as well as the baseband, or frequency range, of the first iPad and iPhone 3GS, says Boy Genius Report, a site that focuses on communications and consumer electronics.

Quick Hackers

Two days after the iPad 2’s March 11 release, a hacker named Comex announced he had jailbroken the device . And earlier this month at the CanSecWest PWN2OWN hacking contest, researchers Charlie Miller and Dion Blazakis reportedly exploited Apple’s Safari browser on an iPhone but shared their method with Apple, as per the rules of the contest.

Boy Genius said the update will come within the next two weeks and will also correct flaws that prevent Springboard and third-party applications from recognizing the iPad 2’s gyroscope, memory corruption that occurs when the processor reads large files from a Universal SIM file system, and an unspecified problem with NTLM authentication, a security feature for Microsoft products.

Apple’s iOS, as of January, is tied with Research In Motion’s BlackBerry operating system for second place with 27 percent of the U.S. smartphone market while Google’s Android has a narrow lead at 29 percent.

Apple released iOS 4.3 ahead of schedule just two days before the release of the iPad 2, and it’s available from the App Store on iTunes. It enables AT&T iPhone users to access the personal Wi-Fi hot-spot feature previously available for Verizon Wireless users and allows faster browsing with a new Nitro JavaScript engine. Other changes are iTunes Home Sharing, allowing users to stream their iTunes libraries to any iOS device via a shared Wi-Fi network, and the ability to stream content from compatible apps to an Apple TV set-top device via AirPlay.

The update also allows iPad users to choose which function they prefer for the mechanical side switch — as a mute button or to lock the screen rotation. iOS 4.3 also automatically adds previous updates, such as Air Print drag-and-drop folders and the remote device finder.

‘They All Have Flaws’

It’s unclear when the CDMA version of the iPhone, introduced by Verizon in January, will receive the 4.3 update. Apple is likely to release a new iPhone in June, as it has done every summer since 2007.

The security update comes as Google is heavily investing in security for its products, offering bounties to those who report flaws to the company. As a result, no one tried to hack its Chrome browser at PWN2OWN.

“All OS platforms have flaws due to their complexity,” said Michael Gartenberg of Gartner Research. “The key is how well and fast they’re fixed.