iPhone security flaw exposes users’ emails, documents and contact lists

Apple is frantically attempting to fix a software failure in the new 3G iPhone, which allows unauthorised users to access private emails, business documents, contact lists and even make calls from a locked device.

Apple is frantically attempting to fix a software failure in the new 3G iPhone, which allows unauthorised users to access private emails, business documents, contact lists and even make calls from a locked device.

The flaw, which allows a user to bypass the device’s password security system and gain access to text, voice messages and contact details, is a blow to users who chose the iPhone over the BlackBerry, which has long been a favourite of business people.

Technology blog Gizmodo summed up the depth of the problem: “The security problem here is double. The first; anyone picking up your phone can make a call to anyone in your favourites. On top of that, this also opens access to your full address book, the dial keypad, and your voice mail.”

The software flaw is a major blow to Apple, which marketed the device as an alternative to Research in Motion’s BlackBerry, which boasts advanced security and communications features.

But an Apple spokesperson says the flaw is minor, and will be remedied with a security patch to be released this month.

In an attempt to recover some of the business ground covered by the BlackBerry, Apple released the 3G iPhone with the ability to “push” email, synchronise contact details and have faster access to the internet.

But the computer company has been plagued with problems since the release of the device, with some users complaining of dropped calls, inadequate reception, low battery life and being unable to access the 3G network.

American technology company Verizon Wireless has even published newspaper advertisements attacking the device and its exclusive carrier AT&T, with the slogan “a phone is only as good as the network it’s on”.

It remains unclear whether software flaws have hurt the device’s sales, which globally reached one million purchases within one week of release.

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