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Apple in danger: Palo Alto Networks discovers WireLurker malware

Apple in danger: Palo Alto Networks discovers WireLurker malware

NEW YORK: Palo Alto Networks Inc has discovered another family of malware. It can infect Apple Inc’s desktop and mobile operating systems, underscoring the increasing sophistication of attacks on iPhones and Mac computers.
According to Ryan Olson, intelligence director for the company’s Unit 42 division; The “WireLurker” malware can install third-party applications on regular, non-jailbroken iOS devices and hop from infected Macs onto iPhones through USB connector-cables.
Palo Alto Networks said on Wednesday it had seen indications that the attackers were Chinese. The malware originated from a Chinese third-party apps store and appeared to have mostly affected users within the country.
The malware spread through infected apps uploaded to the apps stores that were in turn downloaded onto Mac computers. According to the company, more than 400 such infected apps had been downloaded over 350,000 times so far.
It’s unclear what the objective of the attacks was. There is no evidence that the attackers had made off with anything more sensitive than messaging IDs and contacts from users’ address books, Olson added.
Once WireLurker gets on an iPhone, it can go on to infect existing apps on the device, somewhat akin to how a traditional virus infects computer software programs. Olson said it was the first time he had seen it in action. “It’s the first time we’ve seen anyone doing it in the wild,” he added.