Palo Alto Networks Inc. (PANW.N) has discovered a new “WireLurker” malware that has the ability to infect Apple devices including desktop versions. The malware has affected Apple users in China that spreads through a third-party app store called ‘Maiyadi’ after it copies itself into an iPhone after connecting through USB.
Experts have warned about the malware that might have affected thousands of users and its nature to affect devices that are not ‘jailbroken’. Palo Alto Networks stated that the malware was created by Chinese hackers. The malware, which infects an app on the store has already infected more than 400 apps that has been downloaded more than 350,000 times. The company also outlined that hackers were getting more sophisticated as they were able to crack the highest level of security.
“WireLurker is unlike anything we’ve ever seen in terms of Apple iOS and OS X malware,” said Ryan Olson, intelligence director at Palo Alto Networks who discovered the malware.
The company discovered that the malware downloads a comic along with an app that is used to check if it is working correctly. However, the objective of the malware of is still unknown, though evidence revealed that messaging ID’s and contacts were stolen from users. Olson added that he notified Apple regarding the malware that could pose a larger threat as it is under development and Apple ID’s could be stolen.
Apple responded to Olson’s report stating that the company has identified the possible apps that were carrying the malware and were aware of the threat. Users were also urged to download apps only from trusted sources. The company, which had a tough task of launching iPhone 6 in China due to security concerns is facing another headache. The Chinese government will closely watch the company’s move to solve the new security problem as the majority of affected users are in China.
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