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iPhone 3.0 Mail security issue surfaces

updated 02:35 pm EDT, Mon August 17, 2009

iPhone 3.0 mail security

A potential security issue in the iPhone 3.0 firmware has surfaced via a YouTube video. The bug allows users to view previously-deleted e-mails, by searching for the title of a deleted message. The results screen displays two copies of the message; when either is selected for the first time, Mail crashes. When the messages are selected a second time however, an iPhone will either display the original text, or a warning saying "This message cannot be displayed because of the way it is formatted."

The copied message also warns that it is "only partially downloaded," and presents a malfunctioning button to download the remaining part of the e-mail. The bug further displays opened messages in either the Deleted Messages folder or the Inbox as "1 of 0."

The poster of the YouTube video says he suspected the device was reaching back to an e-mail server, but was able to disprove this by emptying his POP account. The bug is believed to be long-standing, as a result of finding e-mails deleted months ago.

by MacNN Staff



  1. lockhartt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    security issue?

    Certainly an issue, but calling this a "security issue" seems a bit of a reach.

  1. rytc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Deleted e-mails

    Most e-mails are stored in the deleted mail box prior to actually being deleted, searching for such e-mails in Mail also finds them.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Nowadays, anyone likes to call something a 'security issue', even when it's not. As rytc explains -- the majority of 'deleted' mails are stored for a defined period of time on the device (there's even a setting in the mail configuration to specify after how much time a 'deleted' mail should actually be deleted (that time is usually a day or a week)).

    This is a non issue, and blown out of proportion by some idiot who hasn't bothered researching how his gadget works (or he's just hungry for attention).


  1. bluebomberx

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Do you even have one?

    This has been noted since day one when 3.0 dropped to the masses. It could be a security issue for those handling sensitive information on their iPhones. It's a stretch, I know. But still a possibility. These 'deleted' messages can't be deleted. Try it. They will still be there. Right now I can find emails from 2/11/2009 on my iPhone. They were deleted long ago and erased from the trash. They can't be deleted.

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