Apple announced yesterday it is cleaning up the official iOS App Store to remove malicious iPhone and iPad applications, the company confirmed that this is the first large-scale attack on the official store that evaded the stringent app review process of the company.
“We’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software,” Apple spokeswoman Christine Monaghan said in an email. “We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.”
The cyber attack was reported by several cyber security firms that detected a malicious program dubbed XcodeGhost that was used to “trojanize” hundreds of legitimate apps. The researchers confirmed that the attackers have infected several apps, including the popular mobile chat app WeChat and the music app from Internet portal NetEase.
The threat actors embedded the malicious code in these apps by deceiving developers and tricking them into use a bogus version of the Apple Xcode.
“The hackers embedded the malicious code in these apps by convincing developers of legitimate software to use a tainted, counterfeit version of Apple’s software for creating iOS and Mac apps, which is known as Xcode, Apple said.” reported the Reuters.
Palo Alto Networks is one of the firm that earlier detected the large-scale infection, its Director of Threat Intelligence Ryan Olson explained that the malicious code used by bad actors has limited functionality and at that his firm hasn’t observed a significant impact of the attack.
Anyway, what is happening is very serious, the event also demonstrates that the App Store could be used to serve malware on a large scale and there is the concrete risk of emulation for other attackers.
“Developers are now a huge target,” Olson added.
The researchers explained that the tainted version of Xcode was downloaded from a server in China, according to Olson, it is likely that developers used this specific server because it allowed for faster downloads than using Apple’s U.S. servers.
While Apple is cleaning the App Store, other security firms are working to identify other bogus applications, the Chinese security firm Qihoo360 Technology Co confirmed it had uncovered 344 apps tainted with XcodeGhost.
(Security Affairs – Apple Xcode, mobile)
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.