Wirelurker virus discovered, ‘heralds new era’ for Apple software attacks

Apple iMac G4

Apple iMac G4

Reports of a new trojan-like malware being pushed around could spell real danger for Apple users, both mobile and desktop. The so-called Wirelurker has just recently been discovered by researchers from Palo Alto Networks — a US-based network security company.

The company notes that its findings are based on over six months worth of research. “We believe that this malware family heralds a new era in malware attacking Apple’s desktop and mobile platforms,” researcher Claud Xiao from Palto Alto writes.

Apple software is known to be extremely secure. iOS, for instance, was ranked as the most secure mobile platform earlier this year.

Apple has made security its mantra, and has even started developing hardware features like the fingerprint reader, Touch ID, for greater user authentication.

On how the malware works, Xiao further writes that WireLurker monitors any iOS device connected via USB with an infected OS X computer and installs downloaded third-party applications or automatically generated malicious applications onto the device, regardless of whether it is jailbroken. The trojan automates generation of malicious iOS applications by replacing binary files.

WireLurker was used to trojanize 467 OS X applications on the Maiyadi App Store, a third-party Mac application store in China.

Since the research started, over 356 104 infected apps have been downloaded which may have impacted hundreds of thousands of users.

“WireLurker is capable of stealing a variety of information from the mobile devices it infects and regularly requests updates from the attackers command and control server,” the report found.

The report further suggests that users should steer away from third-party app stores, keep iOS up-to-date with antivirus software, avoid connecting your device with other computers or accessories and to not jailbreak your devices.



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