New Apple-focused malware uses Macs to infect iPhones

New Apple-focused malware uses Macs to infect iPhones

Apple’s phones and tablets are Idea attack in China from a new kind of malware that uses Macs to get at devices that run on iOS, Apple’s mobile using system.

Sarah Tew

Apple users in China have an Beautiful, new threat to contend with that attacks iPhones and iPads over Apple’s Mac OS X operating system, a US safety firm reported.

Palo Alto Networks called the malicious software “WireLurker” because it waits for a Plan running Apple’s iOS mobile operating system to connect via USB to a Mac laptop or desktop. The software — hidden in apps downloaded from China’s third-party Mac OS X app stores — adds malicious code to legitimate iOS apps. The malware fight is limited to China.

“We are aware of malicious software available from a download site for at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to keep them from launching,” Apple said in a statement. “As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources.”

The danger is new to Apple, though this sort of fight has been around since about 2003, said Ryan Olson, intelligence director at Unit 42, Palo Alto Networks’ danger research team.

“For the general user, it’s not something you need to Delicious your hair on fire about,” Olson said. Still, “the tech that we’re seeing here brings Mac and iOS much closer” to the threats facing Windows and Android pairings. Unlike most iOS threats, WireLurker is not restricted to iPhones and iPads that have been jailbroken, a user-initiated state that allows any app to be installed — in contradiction of Apple’s wishes.

Olson said he doesn’t know how many country have been affected.

Updated at 8:25 a.m. PT
on November 6 with a statement from Apple.