Everything you need to know about App Store malware

22 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple Weathers The First Major Malware Attack On Its App Store.

BOSTON • Apple says it is cleaning up its iOS App Store to remove malicious iPhone and iPad programs, identified in the first large-scale attack on the popular mobile software outlet.

Apple has removed some applications from its App Store after developers in China were tricked into using software tools that added malicious code in an unusual security breach.Over the weekend, Apple revealed that malware found its way into the App Store on a mass scale after several of China’s most popular apps were infected with code that could snoop on iOS devices and steal passwords. The revelation came after several cyber security firms reported finding a malicious program dubbed XcodeGhost embedded in hundreds of legitimate apps.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple claims the hack happened as a result of developers using an unofficial, compromised version of Xcode, the developer kit used to create apps for Apple products. Meanwhile, Chinese Internet giant Tencent issued a report of its own that said the infected Xcode kit was being circulated on several web forums for the better part of six months. The malicious software collects information from infected devices and uploads it to outside servers, according to Palo Alto Networks, a U.S.-based security firm, which investigated the malware.

Other attackers may copy that approach, which is hard to defend against, he said. “Developers are now a huge target.” Researchers said infected apps included Tencent Holdings’ popular mobile chat app WeChat, car- hailing app Didi Kuaidi and a music app from Internet portal NetEase. Tencent said on its official WeChat blog that the security flaw affects WeChat 6.2.5, an old version of its chatting app, and that newer versions were unaffected.

Hackers are increasingly looking for new ways to target mobile apps and devices, including iPhones, because they are so widely used by many consumers, added Darren Hayes, a cyber-security expert at Pace University in New York. The creators of this malware took advantage of public frustration with Beijing’s Internet filters, which hamper access to Apple and other foreign websites. Apple has proclaimed that its own App Store is a safe alternative for users who don’t want to be snooped on—but it appears the company may not be able to guarantee that anymore.

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