Apple has issued a sharply worded rebuttal to Google’s claims that iOS security vulnerabilities exposed iPhone users to hackers for years.
Google released a lengthy blog post in late August claiming that attackers could access your Apple device if you simply clicked on a malicious website. Now, the iPhone giant wants to “make sure all our customers have the facts.”
Apple said on Friday that Google’s allegations are overstated and “narrowly focused.”
“Google’s post, issued six months after iOS patches were released, creates the false impression of ‘mass exploitation’ to ‘monitor the private activities of entire populations in real time,’ stoking fear among all iPhone users that their devices had been compromised. This was never the case,” Apple said a statement just days before its next glitzy iPhone unveiling.
iOS 13: 13 hidden ways Apple’s new software can breathe life into your aging iPhone
Pew survey: Americans trust police more than tech giants to use facial recognition
The tech giant goes on to outline the ways it believes Google’s blog post was misleading to consumers. Apple starts by saying that the attacks weren’t “en masse,” as Google suggested. Only a few dozen websites had targeted a minority community in China, Apple said.
Google’s investigation, which was executed by an elite bug-finding team, found that a collection of malicious websites were visited thousands of times per week. The report suggested that such websites could install a “monitoring implant” that could give hackers access to iMessages, photos and location data.
The search giant’s researchers also said that vulnerabilities were present in iPhone operating systems “from iOS 10 through to the latest version of IOS 12.”
Apple acknowledged that users were open to a “sophisticated attack,” however it says that the flaws were fixed 10 days after it learned of the exploits.
“All evidence indicates that these website attacks were only operational for a brief period, roughly two months, not ‘two years’ as Google implies,” Apple said.
The iPhone giant then took a dig at Google’s Android operating system. “iOS security is unmatched because we take end-to-end responsibility for the security of our hardware and software,” Apple said in a statement.
Despite Apple’s assertions, Google is standing by its report.
“We stand by our in-depth research, which was written to focus on the technical aspects of these vulnerabilities. We will continue to work with Apple and other leading companies to help keep people safe online,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.