Beware Apple users: new malware targets OS X and iOS devices

It’s a common misconception that Apple products are safe from malware and viruses. Apple products are also vulnerable to malware that might endanger your data and disrupt your work process.

The good news is that there is only a handful of documented cases. This is because most viruses are specifically engineered towards Windows-based computers and devices since there are more of these in the market. Recently, however, there is a report from Business Insider states that a new line of malware has been detected in some Apple devices.

Dubbed WireLurker, this malware has been detected by cybersecurity software company, Palo Alto Networks. But what does this malware do exactly? Initially, this malware targets OS X desktop and laptop computers, as well as iOS devices like your iPhone and iPad. Once it infects the system, WireLurker installs third-party apps that could further affect your data and transmit information to a connected OS X computer. User information may be stolen or leaked once the malware reaches these devices, whether the device is jailbroken or not.

Fortunately, it seems it’s only targeting users from overseas, specifically in China, as reported by the New York Times. According to the report, it has been estimated that over 500 of these third-party applications have been download over 300,000 times. This has been the largest-scale malware infection Palo Alto Networks has recorded.

“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,” says Ryan Olson, the director of the threat intelligence team at Palo Alto Networks.

Apple has released an official statement: “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.”

In Sweden, a researcher has also brought up an anomaly he found from the latest OS X Yosemite from Apple. Rootpipe, as Emil Kvarhammar calls it, “allows attackers to gain root access or full administrative control” into an accessed Mac computer, granting information access and running programs from a third party control. Mac users should relax though, since accessing this hole in the system is difficult to do since hackers would need to bypass OS X pop-up security warnings. Apple has also been reported to be fixing the bug but is yet to release an update.

Nevertheless, here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t put your Apple devices in danger:

  • Keep your system up-to-date.

OS X updates can automatically detect and remove malware from your computer. Be sure to get the latest OS X updates from iTunes or the Apple website.

  • Research the software before you download or install them.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links or images on web pages.

Clicking on these links can sometimes trigger automatic downloads of harmful software.

Wirelurker has reportedly been neutralized by Apple, as the company has confirmed to Business Insider, but should you still encounter malware in your system, try these steps. MacMall is also providing expert system check and services for Apple users and is also offering Apple Protection plans.

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