Apple Ships iOS 15 with MFA Code Generator

Apple on Monday rolled out a major refresh of its flagship iOS mobile platform, adding a built-in two-factor authentication code generator and multiple anti-tracking security and privacy features.

The iOS 15 makeover also includes patches for at least 22 documented security vulnerabilities, some serious enough to expose iPhone and iPad users to remote denial-of-service and local code execution attacks.

The latest mobile operating system refresh comes on the heels of two major security and privacy-related controversies at Apple. The company was forced to scramble out an emergency iOS patch last week to address in-the-wild zero day attacks and Apple was also caught in a privacy scandal linked to its now-delayed sex-abuse scanning technology.

[ READ: Apple Ships Urgent Patch for FORCEDENTRY Zero-Days ]

According to Apple, the built-in authenticator can generate verification codes needed for additional sign-in security. “If a site offers two-factor authentication, you can set up verification codes under Passwords in Settings — no need to download an additional app. Once set up, verification codes autofill when you sign in to the site.”

Another notable is Mail Privacy Protection, a new feature that prevents e-mail marketers from learning information about an iPhone user’s Mail activity.

“If you choose to turn it on, it hides your IP address so senders can’t link it to your other online activity or determine your location. And it prevents senders from seeing if you’ve opened their email,” Apple explained.

The iOS 15 upgrade also includes nifty privacy features like Secure Paste, an App Privacy report that exposes how often apps access a user’s location, photos, camera or microphone over a seven-day stretch.   

[ READ: Apple Adds ‘BlastDoor’ to Secure iPhones From Zero-Click Attacks ]

On the patching front, Apple documented 22 vulnerabilities fixed in iOS 15 and iPad OS 15 and warned that these issues could lead to code execution, denial of service, or authentication bypass attacks.

The most serious of these flaws could allow arbitrary code execution via rigged fonts or image files.  Apple also warned that of the security defects could allow a 3D model constructed to look like the enrolled user to authenticate via Face ID.

Apple is gently nudging iPhone and iPad users to apply the upgrades via a ribbon below the Software Update settings page.

Related: New iOS Zero-Click Exploit Defeats Apple ‘BlastDoor’ Sandbox 

Related: Apple Patches ‘Actively Exploited’ Mac, iOS Security Flaw

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Ryan Naraine is Editor-at-Large at SecurityWeek and host of the popular Security Conversations podcast series. Ryan is a journalist and cybersecurity strategist with more than 20 years experience covering IT security and technology trends. He is a regular speaker at cybersecurity conferences around the world.
Ryan has built security engagement programs at major global brands, including Intel Corp., Bishop Fox and Kaspersky GReAT. He is a co-founder of Threatpost and the global SAS conference series. Ryan’s career as a journalist includes bylines at major technology publications including Ziff Davis eWEEK, CBS Interactive’s ZDNet, PCMag and PC World.
Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanaraine.

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