Opening a PDF on your iPhone could infect it with malware

… unless you’ve updated to iOS 9.3.

iOS 9.3 / PDF

There is a lot of attention being focused today on a flaw in Apple iMessages, which could allow an attacker to intercept your supposedly private messages and extract links to images and videos that you were trying to share securely with your contacts.

The security hole, discovered by researchers from Johns Hopkins University, is an important one to fix – and should be a good reason for you to update your iDevices to the newly-released iOS 9.3, which patches the problem.

However, it’s not the only security fix released by Apple today as you can see in the chart below.

Security updates

Name and information link Available for
OS X Server 5.1 OS X Yosemite v10.10.5 and later
Safari 9.1 OS X Mavericks v10.9.5, OS X Yosemite v10.10.5, OS X El Capitan v10.11 to v10.11.3
OS X El Capitan v10.11.4 and Security Update 2016-002 OS X Mavericks v10.9.5, OS X Yosemite v10.10.5, and OS X El Capitan v10.11 to v10.11.3
Xcode 7.3 OS X El Capitan v10.11 and later
tvOS 9.2 Apple TV (4th generation)
watchOS 2.2 Apple Watch Sport, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Edition, and Apple Watch Hermes
iOS 9.3 iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch (5th generation) and later, iPad 2 and later

Plenty of reasons to update everything from OS X to your Apple Watch to your Apple TV there…

And if you take the time to read through the advisories you discover that there are additional compelling reasons to update your iPhones and iPads than just the iMessages encryption flaw.

Sign up to our free newsletter.
Security news, advice, and tips.

Take this newly-announced security hole, for instance:

IOS security flaw


Available for: iPhone 4s and later, iPod touch (5th generation) and later, iPad 2 and later

Impact: Opening a maliciously crafted PDF file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution

Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed through improved memory handling.


CVE-2016-1740 : HappilyCoded (ant4g0nist and r3dsm0k3) working with Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative (ZDI)

In short, an attacker could send you a boobytrapped PDF that would cause malicious code to run on your iPhone.


Update your Apple technology folks.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

What do you think? Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.