At Pwn2Own 2018 mobile hacking competition held in Tokyo on November 13-14, white hat hackers once again demonstrated that even the fully patched smartphones running the latest version of software from popular smartphone manufacturers can be hacked.
Three major flagship smartphones—iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy S9, and Xiaomi Mi6—were among the devices that successfully got hacked at the annual mobile hacking contest organized by Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI), earning white hat hackers a total of $325,000 in reward.
Teams of hackers participated from different countries or representing different cybersecurity companies disclosed a total of 18 zero-day vulnerabilities in mobile devices made by Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi, as well as crafted exploits that allowed them to completely take over the targeted devices.
Apple iPhone X Running iOS 12.1 — GOT HACKED!
A team of two researchers, Richard Zhu and Amat Cama, who named themselves Fluoroacetate, discovered and managed to exploit a pair of vulnerabilities in a fully patched Apple iPhone X over Wi-Fi. The duo combined a just-in-time (JIT) vulnerability in the iOS web browser (Safari) along with an out-of-bounds write bug for the sandbox escape and escalation to exfiltrate data from the iPhone running iOS 12.1.
For their demonstration, the pair chose to retrieve a photo that had recently been deleted from the target iPhone, which certainly came as a surprise to the person in the picture. The research earned them $50,000 in prize money.