The Apple App store hack: China’s Internet controls played a part

21 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple withdraws some China apps after malware found.

Apple has reported its first sustained security breach on its iOS software platform. BEIJING (AP) — Apple Inc. says it has removed some applications from its App Store after they were found to contain malicious software in an unusual security breach.

BEIJING: Hackers have infected one of China’s most popular social media applications on Apple’s App Store, Chinese Internet firm Tencent said, after dozens of programmes were reportedly affected by a rare breach in the US giant’s security. “A security flaw, caused by an external malware, was recently discovered affecting iOS users only on WeChat version 6.2.5,” Tencent said in a statement posted on the Wechat blog, adding the flaw had been repaired. “There has been no theft and leakage of users’ information or money.” Citing US-based cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks, the Wall Street Journal said that the attack affected more than three dozen apps. The company on Monday blamed the breach on the use by some developers of a fake version of a software tool that was posted on Chinese websites and included the malicious software. Apps infected by the malware — code-named XcodeGhost — could transmit information about a user’s device, mount phishing attacks to try to steal passwords, and access clipboard information, it said. Tencent Ltd., operator of the popular WeChat social media service, said its software was affected and the company released a new version after its security researchers found the malicious code. Other firms said to be affected included Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Kuaidi, Internet portal NetEase, and mobile phone operator China Unicom, among several more.

It worked its way into several apps by convincing developers to use a counterfeit version of Xcode, which is the software used to create iOS and Mac apps. Anti-censorship group Greatfire.org, which tracks Chinese Internet restrictions and events, said the attack appeared to originate in compromised versions of Xcode, Apple’s developer software, which were then used by Chinese programmers. Christine Monaghan, Apple spokesperson said that they have removed the apps from the App Store that they know have been created with this counterfeit software.

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