Malicious software on iOS devices are practically unheard of but Palo Alto Network reports that a new virus called Wireluker, may have already infected hundreds of thousands of users.
Wirelurker is said to originate from the Maiyadi App Store, a third-party source for OS X software based in China. Once the user downloads and runs an infected app, the app will monitor the computer for iOS devices that are connected through USB and infect said devices. The malware is capable of downloading and repackaging apps as trojans to be synced with the iOS device through iTunes; which allows it to infect non-jailbroken devices. Researchers have estimated that the trojans on the Maiyadi App Store have been downloaded some 356,104 times.
Once the system has been infected, either Mac or iOS, Wirelurker will begin to collect user information such as the user’s Apple ID, device model, device name, phone number and serial number. What the point of the exercise is still unknown, as researchers point out that the information points collected do not indicate a specific motive.
The malicious software presents itself to be the first of its kind as iOS users have never faced a threat on such scale before. Palo Alto Networks has already developed a program that allows users to test and see if their iOS devices are infected or not. Palo Alto Networks also suggested users to not download apps through third party app stores or USB-based chargers from unknown sources.
It will no doubt be interesting to see how Apple handles an attack of such scale as this is the first occurrence of malicious software on un-jailbroken iOS devices.