A cybersecurity software developer is sounding the alarm on a newly discovered type of malware it says could target Apple users on the largest scale ever seen.
Palo Alto Networks was the first to discover WireLurker, a type of malware designed to install malicious third-party apps on iPhones and iPads. WireLurker is able to detect when you plug your iPhone or iPad into a computer running OS X and from there, begins installing damaging third-party applications.
So far, the malware has been limited to targeting Apple users in China, but that's not to say users in the West are immune. Palo Alto Networks deemed it "the biggest in scale we have ever seen."
“They are still preparing for an eventual attack. Even though this is the first time this is happening, it demonstrates to a lot of attackers that this is a method that can be used to crack through the hard shell that Apple has built around its iOS devices," Palo Alto Networks director of threat intelligence Ryan Olson said.
When WireLurker infects a device, it can steal address book contacts and read your iMessage texts. WireLurker can also request updates from the control and command server for potentially even more harm to infected devices.
An Apple spokeswoman said the company is "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.”
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