Apple brings down malware-infected apps from store

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Inc suffers first major security iOS breach, removes infected App Store apps.

Tumblr co-founder Marco Arment, who developed the most popular paid ad-blocker on Apple Inc’s US app store, has pulled the product, citing concerns that the tool could hurt independent Web publishers. “Adblockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit,” Arment wrote.According to them, the infected apps can transmit information about a user’s device, prompt fake alerts that could be used to steal passwords to Apple’s iCloud service, and read and write information on the user’s clipboard. The controversy around ad-blocking software kicked up this week after Apple made it available on the new version of the iPhone operating system on Wednesday. The infected applications include many used by iPhone and iPad owners in China such as Tencent’s hugely popular WeChat app, a music app from Internet portal NetEase Inc., and an Uber-like car hailing app Didi Kuaidi. “We’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software,” Apple spokeswoman Christine Monaghan said in an email. “We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.” Palo Alto Networks Director of Threat Intelligence Ryan Olson said the tainted version of Xcode was downloaded from a server in China that developers may have used because it allowed for faster downloads than using Apple’s US servers.

The applications were infected after software developers were lured into using an unauthorized and compromised version of Apple’s AAPL, -0.41% developer tool kit, according to researchers at Alibaba Mobile Security, a mobile antivirus division of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd BABA, -0.38% . According to Apptopia Inc, a Boston-based company that tracks app store downloads and revenue, the Peace app generated US$113,521 (RM483,928) in gross proceeds in the 36 hours it was live. However, many argue that such tools hurt publishers, particularly smaller ones, by forcing them to develop dedicated iPhone apps, rather than relying on mobile-friendly websites. Some have even suggested that using such apps amounts to theft that will all but destroy the Web as we know it. “Ad blocking hurts publishers, prevents businesses from communicating and competing, reduces the diversity of voices in digital media, and hinders consumers from obtaining important information about products, services, even politics and culture,” wrote Randall Rothenberg, president and CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, in an e-mailed statement.

In separate statements posted to social media over the weekend, Tencent, Didi Kuaidi Joint Co. and NetEase said their applications had been compromised but said no sensitive customer information had been lost. Some 20 million people used ad blockers last year, up 40% from a year earlier, resulting in US$22bil (RM93.78bil) in lost advertising revenue, according to a study by Adobe and PageFair, an anti ad-blocking tech company.

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