Ins0mnia and NetworkToolbox

You may have heard about about Ins0mnia which is a security vulnerability that allows an iOS App to continue to run in the background, even if the App was terminated by the user and not visible in the task switcher. Security researchers argue that Apps that are using this Ins0mnia vulnerability may even be able access the microphone or camera without your knowing.

As an App developer I can tell you that camera access is not possible in the background and both microphone and camera access will only be possible if a user acknowledged the request to access those peripherals. Without a user confirmation, even an App using the Ins0mnia vulnerability can not access microphone and camera.

But anyways, the Ins0mnia flaw is not good but it’s good that Apple fixed this security issue with iOS 8.4.1 (so hurry, if you didn’t already update).

So what about Ins0mnia and NetworkToolbox ? Can NetworkToolbox detect Ins0mnia ? I would be scared if that could be the case to be honest. Because that would mean that Apps would have access to other Apps out of it’s own Sandbox. This is only possible on Jailbroken devices and that’s why Jailbroken devices are quite insecure.

But NetworkToolbox can indeed help. With the recently introduced Connections Tool you can find out, if one of your Apps “calls home” which means if it sends data from your device to another server on the Internet. As already mentioned, I created a small tutorial which explains how to do that.

But it’s even easier with Ins0mnia because the nature of Ins0mnia is, that it continues to run in the background and also communicates over the network while in the background.

So here is, what you can do (not only to detect Ins0mnia) :

First, you should close all Apps on your device (double tap the home button and swipe all Apps to the top one after the other).

Then, start NetworkToolbox and open the Connections tool. Normally you will see about 10 to 15 connections. If you wait a while and press the refresh button, this number should go down to about five or even three. If you take a look at these few connections, you should only see Apples IP Addresses (those starting with 17), maybe the IP Address of the mail provider you are using and maybe some akamai domains. That should really be all you see after a few minutes. If you see more and different addresses, it’s worth to inspect them because that’s unusual and can be caused by an App using the Ins0mnia vulnerability.

Don’t trust the evil!

Best Regards,

Marcus