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Monday, January 28, 2013, 04:33 pm PT (07:33 pm ET)

Apple's iOS 6.1 squashes 'Smart App Banner' bug that re-enabled JavaScript without user consent

With the release of iOS 6.1 on Monday, Apple addressed a potentially serious bug introduced in iOS 6 that would override a user's Mobile Safari JavaScript settings after visiting a webpage with a so-called "Smart App Banner."

JavaScript Bug

Apple's iOS 6.1 fixes a JavaScript bug that would turn on JavaScript in Mobile Safari without a user's consent.


According to Apple's Support Webpage regarding iOS 6.1 security enhancements, and confirmed by AppleInsider, a bug that would inadvertently re-enable JavaScript in Mobile Safari without user interaction has been fixed in a tweak to the iOS StoreKit.

The issue first appeared when the Smart App Banner feature was instituted in iOS 6. Smart App Banners allowed developers an easy way to promote their iOS app within Safari by automatically scanning and detecting whether a specific app is on a user's device. If present, the banner invites the user to exit Safari and open the standalone app. If the system does not detect the app, the smart banner will offer a link to download the software from the App Store.

As seen in the example above, Pinterest's iOS app is not installed, thus a banner directing the user to install the app is displayed at the top of the service's web portal.

From the release notes:
Description: If a user disabled JavaScript in Safari Preferences, visiting a site which displayed a Smart App Banner would re-enable JavaScript without warning the user. This issue was addressed by not enabling JavaScript when visiting a site with a Smart App Banner.
Other security problems addressed with iOS 6.1 include a number of WebKit bugs including a memory corruption issue that could lead to the execution of arbitrary code or cause an app to unexpectedly quit after visiting a maliciously crafted website.

Apple released the latest version of iOS 6 earlier on Monday, bringing enhancements to iTunes Match, the ability to purchase movie tickets with Siri, support for more LTE carriers and a host of minor bug fixes and backend improvements.