During the first semester some of our creative and talented students found an interesting iOS loophole that gave them unfiltered access to the web. The trouble stems from Apps that, instead of storing their help documentation locally on the device, pull in their help documentation from the web. To the average user there is no difference between the two methods, however some students discovered that by clicking through the help files, they could navigate to a Google search page and then to any website on the internet. Some apps featured only small help screens, while others, such as the Google Earth App, featured a full screen web browser.
|Facebook accessed through the Google Earth App|
|Twitter accessed through the Screen Chomp App|
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It's unfortunate that security and safety frequently conflict with creativity and learning.
Note: I understand that many educators are advocates of teaching students to browse the web safely instead of blocking access to social media and other potentially useful tools. While this is a noble goal, the reality of life as we know it includes the fact that the majority of schools block Twitter, Facebook, and other potentially useful sites. This post is not meant to be a discussion of internet freedom, but a report on a potential security loophole in iOS devices.