Apple has named the top 25 apps infected by the XcodeGhost malware, stating that “the number of impacted users drops significantly” for other compromised apps. Most security researchers now agree that the total number of infected apps is in or around four figures, with many of them still present in China’s App Store … expand full story
iOS malware Stories September 24, 2015
iOS malware Stories September 23, 2015
Apple is to make Xcode available for local download from servers based in China as part of its response to the XcodeGhost malware issue. The announcement was made on the Chinese social media site Sina by Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of worldwide marketing (via CNET). It’s believed that many Chinese developers inadvertently downloaded the fake version because the official download was taking too long.
“In the US it only needs 25 minutes to download,” Schiller told Sina, admitting that in China getting Xcode “may take three times as long.” He told the Chinese publication that, to quell this problem, Apple would be providing an official source for developers in the People’s Republic to download Xcode domestically.
Analysis of infected apps by security researchers appears to be revealing a mix of good and bad news … expand full story
iOS malware Stories September 22, 2015
App analytics company SourceDNA – whose clients include Google, Amazon and Dropbox – claims that the compromised versions of many apps remain live in the Chinese App Store. This includes CamCard, which is a very popular app ranked #94.
The apps were infected with malware by a fake version of Xcode dubbed XcodeGhost which legitimate developers were fooled into downloading, believing it to be a copy of the genuine Apple app. A partial list of infected apps has been posted by security company Palo Alto Networks … expand full story
iOS malware Stories November 7, 2014
Apple has now blocked the launching of Mac apps infected with WireLurker malware, after earlier revoking security certificates to prevent them being installed on new devices. WireLurker was capable of infecting non-jailbroken iOS devices when connected to a Mac running one of the compromised apps. Over 400 Mac apps in a third-party Chinese app store were affected.
In a written statement, an Apple spokesperson said:
We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching. As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources.
However, a security researcher says that it would be easy for other attackers to exploit the exact same weakness … expand full story
iOS malware Stories April 22, 2014
Chinese iOS malware stealing Apple IDs and passwords from jailbroken devices
Security researcher Stefan Esser (via ArsTechnica) has discovered that an issue reported on Reddit as causing crashes on jailbroken iPhones and iPads is actually a piece of malware designed to capture Apple IDs and passwords from infected devices.
This malware appears to have Chinese origin and comes as a library called Unflod.dylib that hooks into all running processes of jailbroken iDevices and listens to outgoing SSL connections. From these connections it tries to steal the device’s Apple-ID and corresponding password and sends them in plaintext to servers with IP addresses in control of US hosting companies for apparently Chinese customers.
Early indications are that the source of the malware is likely to have been from a tweak downloaded from somewhere outside of Cydia. Esser has identified that the code only runs on 32-bit devices, meaning that the iPhone 5s, iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display are safe, while other devices are vulnerable.
The blog post says that the malware is easy to check for, but may not be easy to remove. Using SSH/Terminal, check the path /Library/MobileSubstrate/DynamicLibraries/ for the presence of either Unflod.dylib or framework.dylib.
Currently the jailbreak community believes that deleting the Unflod.dylib/framework.dylib binary and changing the apple-id’s password afterwards is enough to recover from this attack. However it is still unknown how the dynamic library ends up on the device in the first place and therefore it is also unknown if it comes with additional malware gifts.
We therefore believe that the only safe way of removal is a full restore, which means the removal and loss of the jailbreak.
Cydia developer Jay Freeman, aka Saurik, pointed out on Reddit that adding random download URLs to Cydia is as risky as opening attachments received in spam emails.
iOS malware Stories August 20, 2013
Security researchers sneak malware past Apple’s App Store review using ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ approach
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology managed to get a malicious app approved by Apple and included in the App Store by using a ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ approach, where the behaviour of a benign app was remotely changed after it had been approved and installed.
It appeared to be a harmless app that Apple reviewers accepted into the iOS app store. They were later able to update the app to carry out a variety of malicious actions without triggering any security alarms. The app, which the researchers titled “Jekyll,” worked by taking the binary code that had already been digitally signed by Apple and rearranging it in a way that gave it new and malicious behaviors …
iOS malware Stories November 7, 2011
Security expert Charlie Miller has found a flaw in code signing on iOS devices (via Forbes) that allows developers to sneak malware apps onto the App Store without Apple’s detection. The malware can then be used to read user’s contacts, make the phone vibrate or sound a ringtone, steal user’s photos, and more whenever the developer chooses. Sketchy!
To shed more light on the exploit Miller is giving a talk at the SysCan conference in Taiwan next week, but he does a good job in showing it off in the video above. Miller isn’t a novice to iOS and Mac security by any means. In 2008 Miller broke into the MacBook Air in two minutes through Safari and more.
Users would definitely be taken by surprise, seeing as we’re all pretty comfortable with how secure Apple keeps the App Store with the company’s review process. Sadly, it looks like any app could be used to harm users. For now, we suggest you keep away from lesser-known apps and developers until Apple issues a fix for the exploit.
Miller’s app has been both removed from the App Store and his developer account has been closed. At any rate, this was definitely a nice find.