The warning comes after a iPhone jailbreaking group called Comex claims to have developed Frash, an unauthorised version of Adobe’s Flash player that runs on the Apple iPad, and is now being ported to the increasingly popular iPhone 4 (http://bit.ly/bmd0IZ).
Users of the Apple device can use software to “jailbreak” their phones. Jailbreaking refers to the act of cracking a vendor’s smartphone operating system to allow it to work with almost any mobile network.
But Barmak Meftah of security software company Fortify Software said that while installing software to run Flash-based websites was attractive to some users, it could open the door to hackers.
“Whilst Frash may look attractive to iPhone 4 and 3GS users wanting to surf to extra Web sites, the reality is that to install this software, users will have to jailbreak their handsets, so allowing the loading of apps from almost any source,” he said.
He warned that while Apple monitors the iTunes store closely for rogue apps, the same is not true for open source and third-party iPhone apps, which can be tampered with by hackers and then offered for free download.
He said that the normal guard that people have when viewing Web sites promising free software for their desktop or laptop computer tends to be lowered when it comes to their iPhone – or any other smartphone, come to that.
“We urge smartphone users to think very carefully before downloading an app for their handset from an untried or unknown source, no matter how attractive the free app looks,” he added.
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