The “largest known Apple account theft caused by malware” that affected 225,000 iPhones has been making headlines. The vulnerability, which was discovered by Palo Alto Networks along with Chinese tech group WeipTech, has attacked only specific iPhones despite being called the largest known hack caused by malware.
“The average iPhone user is not affected by this,” Tyler Reguly, manager of the vulnerability and exposure research team at Tripwire, a security company, said.
According to CNN, 225,000 “jailbroken” iPhones were attacked in the latest hack. The malware, called KeyRaider that only targeted jailbroken phones, steals Apple account information – including usernames and passwords – and device information by intercepting iTunes traffic on the targeted device.
By jailbreaking a phone, owners can get access to certain and specific restricted parts of the phone’s file systems.
The malware can be introduced into the phone by downloading an application that did not come from Apple’s AppStore.
As reported by USA Today, Apple spokesman Ryan James said, “To protect our users from malware, we curate App Store content and ensure all apps in the App Store adhere to our developer guidelines. “This issue only impacts those who not only have jailbroken devices, but have also downloaded malware from untrusted sources.”
Almost 8% of iPhones have been jailbroken internationally, estimates say.
Nicko Van Someren, chief technology officer with mobile security company Good Technology, said the malware is a reflection of how effective Apple’s inbuilt security mechanism is.
“Users wanting to run unauthorized application, or wishing to innovate in their apps beyond the bounds that Apple defines, need to consider carefully if the additional functionality is worth the additional risk,” he said.
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