For the first time security researchers have found a flaw in Apple's iPhone that allows them to take control of the device.

Experts at the Independent Security Evaluators (ISE) said a hacker could install malicious code on to the phone via its Safari internet browser, through a WiFi connection or tricking users to visit a malicious site.

According to the researchers, a malicious user could then take complete control of the device and steal personal information, including contact telephone numbers and text messages.

One of the security experts, Charles Miller, said that Apple had built considerable security measures into the device, but once a hole had been found it allowed the hacker to take complete control.

“Apple takes security very seriously and has a great track record of addressing potential vulnerabilities before they can affect users,” an Apple spokesperson said in a statement. “We are looking into the report submitted by ISE and always welcome feedback on how to improve our security.”

Hackers have been trying to find vulnerabilities in the iPhone since its launch in the US last month. The majority have focused on unlocking the device from its wireless provider, AT&T, and getting unauthorised programs to run on it.

Apple said it would begin working on a patch to fix the problem.