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Apple Reeling After Vicious Malware Attack on App Store

It's official, not even the app store is safe from the malevolent hacker underworld. The App store has never been blighted by any hacking issue before, but last week Apple had to go in and remove several apps, as hundreds were found to have been infected with the 'XCodeGhost' malware code. This happened because developers had been lured into a sneaky trap, being told that they could now access an updated, upgraded version of the developer kit.

The code was so deeply entrenched in the software that none of the pre-release reviews managed to pick up on it, and by the time it surfaced it was too late. Theoretically, the XCode is capable of pulling large amounts of personal data from the accounts of anyone who downloads an app harbouring it, but so far there have been no reports of any sensitive data being taken.

The source of the attack has been traced back to a hosting site in China, and the affected apps are largely Chinese, but a handful of them are internationally available, such as CamCard, a business card scanning tool (and a rather popular one at that). Several Chinese firms have begun investigating the attack, including the brass behind WeChat, China's massive national online chat service/social network. In their official statement, they claimed that they have yet to find any missing personal data, and that the most recent version of the WeChat app itself seems to have come out completely unscathed.

Another Chinese security firm is gradually compiling a list of all affected apps, thus far they've managed to find 344 of them. Data theft from iPhones has been an issue in the past, but only from jailbroken ones, whereas this attack affects iPhones completely indiscriminately. Apple have been able to source and remove the app that starting this whole ghastly process off. It's difficult to say whether or not the risk has completely subsided though.

The IB Times have been kind enough to publish a list of all internationally available apps that fell prey to the hack, so it's probably worth having a look through to see if you've got any of them. It can be tempting at times like this to question exactly what the motive behind this was, but honestly it was probably just a desire to cause abject chaos, or theft of money, or some combination of the two. This will have ruffled Apple's feathers, but knowing them the app store is likely now undergoing a total security overhaul, just to assure that lightning won't strike twice.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Apple Reeling After Vicious Malware Attack on App Store Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, September 21, 2015 Rating: 5

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