A security loophole has been discovered in Siri, the much-touted iPhone 4S voice-control function. Turns out, the default setting for Apple's beloved A.I., is "On." This means that even when your phone is locked, anyone could pick it up, hold down the home button and tell Siri to send texts and emails to your contacts.
Graham Cluley at Sophos' Naked Security blog tested this flaw out on a locked iPhone 4S and was able to send texts and emails using Siri--without ever entering a password.
Thankfully, there's an easy fix.
As reported by a Mashable commenter, if you don't want Siri to work when the phone is locked, simply change the default setting from "Allow access to Siri when locked with a passcode" to "Off."
Since it can easily be changed in the phone's settings, this weakness isn't a flaw per se. However, it is curious that Apple would make 4S users opt-out of running Siri when the phone is locked instead of letting them choose whether or not they want this potentially exploitative feature turned on in the first place.
Writes Cluley for Sophos, "[Apple] could have chosen to implement Siri securely, but instead they decided to default to a mode which is more about impressing your buddies than securing your calendar and email system."
Siri isn't the only cool new smartphone function that could possibly make you phone less secure.
Reports have surfaced that Android's recently announced Face Unlock feature, announced as part of Google's huge new update to its mobile platform, may also leave Android 4.0-equipped smartphones vulnerable to a security breach. Here's how: Face Unlock uses facial recognition software to unlock a user's phone when it recognizes his face, but Google has admitted to Slash Gear that using a picture of the phone's owner, instead of his actual face to unlock the phone "might work" too. This may be because Face Unlock is still in development, and a Google representative assured Slash Gear that "[Face Unlock] will only get better."
Take a look at the video (below), courtesy of CNET, to see how you can the Siri "flaw" on the iPhone 4S. If this makes you interested in other voice-control features besides Siri, take a look at our slideshow of the 5 best Siri alternatives (here).
Check out our slideshow of users' biggest problems with the iPhone 4S (so far).