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Apple aware of iPhone Mail bug, working on fix?

updated 11:55 am EDT, Tue August 18, 2009

Apple and iPhone Mail bug

Apple is already fully aware of a critical security flaw in the iPhone Mail client, according to an inside source. The source claims to have proof of the fact, and suggests that Apple will probably fix it with the release of the iPhone 3.1 firmware. Temporary remedies may including rebooting a phone, loading messages several times, or simply waiting long enough.

Some iPhone and iPod owners have discovered that Mail does not fully delete e-mail from the devices, potentially leaving the contents exposed to hackers and thieves. Deleted messages are instead retrievable through a targeted Spotlight search, although it may take multiple attempts to load a message properly. Apple has not commented publicly on the issue.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    and...

    Last time I looked, desktop machines didn't actually erase deleted stuff unless you used a secure delete function, not to mention the fact that I can't remember the exact title of a single e-mail I've ever sent or received!

  1. gor3don

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    so...

    So if I lock my phone and try to make sure no one else uses it, I should be okay?

    Do BlackBerrys have this problem as well? What about the Pre?

    And like Feathers said, how is someone going to search for a specific email title when I can't even remember the title?

    And is this really a CRITICAL flaw?

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    It's not even a flaw...

    ...certainly not a security flaw - it's a bug, and it is only affecting a POP account.

    eeing as how everyone is freaking out over this, but not bothering to really investigate this, I figured I'd do what these folks seem to be too lazy to do.

    If you properly delete your emails, this does not happen - i.e. remove the email from both SENT and INBOX, after which you need to go into the TRASH folder, and manually select the messages, and select DELETE again.

    This is a function of the way IMAP and especially POP mail leave mail in the Deleted Items folder, or Trash folder, for the duration specified in the settings -- it seems most users never bothered looking in their settings (the default is to keep deleted messages for a month before they auto-delete - you can also set it to a day, or manually delete instantly).

    Furthermore, this does not apply to ActiveSync accounts, where a deletion is instant and complete (thus corporate kids can stop the sweating and heavy breathing - Apple's got your back), and neither on MobileMe accounts (you know, Exchange for the Rest of Us). On IMAP accounts, if you manually delete it from the trash, the messages are gone as well. It's POP accounts which have this issue.

    So for the most part this is being blown terribly out of proportion - not by the original guy who discovered this who clearly stated he's working on a POP account, but by all ruminants and regurgitators, particularly those who are too lazy to properly investigate something like this.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -2

    Re: not even a flaw

    Maybe you need to read up more about this Zink. It is a flaw. People are finding mails that were deleted and removed from THE TRASH. They aren't just sitting in the trash waiting to be recovered. They literally do not show up anywhere, but you can find them.

    If you properly delete your emails, this does not happen - i.e. remove the email from both SENT and INBOX, after which you need to go into the TRASH folder, and manually select the messages, and select DELETE again.

    Oh, please. Who the h*** does this? If you tell the iPhone to delete mail from the trash after 7 days, or immediately, or whenver, it should actually delete the emails. You shouldn't have to specifically go over to the trash and delete it.

    But, hey, way to try to spin this as not being any problem at all.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +1

    re: and...

    Last time I looked, desktop machines didn't actually erase deleted stuff unless you used a secure delete function, not to mention the fact that I can't remember the exact title of a single e-mail I've ever sent or received!

    But you also can't do a simple spotlight search on the desktop and find the erased stuff, as you can here. You'd have to use third-party recovery software, and hope the OS hasn't overwritten the disk space.

  1. macnixer

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    not sure how it is a

    security flaw? It is a bug and that too limited to some users. I tried every trick in the book with my account and could not reproduce the "flaw". BTW, nothing you delete is really really really deleted from your system. And email is never removed either. It is either available at the senders "sent items" or on one of the servers out there on the internet. Some one could get to it if they really wanted it.

  1. bluebomberx

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    It is a flaw

    Zink obviously doesn't own an iPhone. I've emptied my sent and trash hundreds of times since owning my iPhone. I can still spotlight search just about every memorable e-mail on my iPhone.

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