updated 05:30 am EST, Wed November 23, 2011
Random Apple ID bug could pose security threat
Electronista has captured video evidence of what appears to be a major bug in iOS 5 that is causing random Apple IDs to be generated on users' handsets. The issue appears to be affecting the iPhone 4S when a user completes a software restore using an Cloud backup. The problem is potentially a serious security issue as users are given the opportunity to see Apple IDs that do not belong to them, and possibly even access them.
The issue has been raised on Apple's discussion forum, with one user claiming that Apple is aware of the issue and is working on a fix. It has also been mentioned on other threads and dates back to before iOS 5.0.1 was seeded to users. The affected iPhone 4S handset that Electronista has seen had been updated to iOS 5.0.1 with the same issue as described in forums still on show.
As our exclusive video below illustrates, a notification pops up asking the affected user to sign in to their Apple ID. However, the ID that is being generated does not belong to the owner of the device, nor does it reflect any other ID or e-mail address that is on the user's handset. After six or seven random IDs are generated when the user tries to dismiss each notification, the issue will disappear for around 20 mins after which it returns again. This happens even when all other applications have been closed.
The only apparent fix for the issue is to avoid using iCloud to restore a user's device and instead reinstall iOS 5 and restore from a user's local Mac or PC using iTunes. It is not known how widespread the issue is, but it may also affect any iOS devices capable of running iOS 5 and using iCloud's restore capability.
While users may have a viable workaround, there is little doubt that the bug represents a serious security problem if an unscrupulous user seeks to replicate the problem and exploit it.