Not only did iOS 10.3 introduce a number of new features to the iPhone and iPad, it also fixed a major vulnerability that caused the iPhone to repeatedly dial the emergency services 911 number.
The 911 security exploit became apparent in October when an 18-year-old iOS developer in Arizona discovered and published code that would cause an iPhone to dial 911 over and over again. They were later arrested after the system experienced more than 100 hang-up calls in only a few minutes.
Because the code was published online, it was seen that the teenager in question helped facilitate a coordinated cyber attack on the emergency services systems that could severely affect the United States 911 system. What they probably should have done is reported the bug to Apple to have it fixed as soon as possible.
The method introduced in iOS 10.3 to fix the issue simply requires a second confirmation to be acknowledged when a number is requested to be dialled from a webpage and therefore plugs the flaw preventing multiple requests to call 911 from being made.
Apple says the update supersedes that capability and now requires users to always press a second confirmation before initiating a call.
Apple says it initially worked with app developers to fix the vulnerability, and this update will now prevent it from happening even on apps that hadn’t already fixed the issue.
Apple also introduced a new filesystem in iOS 10.3 as well as a dozens of major security fixes to further improve the security of the mobile operating system so it’s good to see yet another issue fixed with this release.