Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity firm has detected a new type of malware that is affecting iOS devices mostly those owned by mobile users based in China and Taiwan. Named YiSpecter, the malware infects iOS run handsets by abusing private application programming interfaces (APIs). According to Palo Alto Networks, YiSpecter is the first malware they have identified that does that in order to implement harmful functionalities into the iOS device’s system.
Apple was quick to issue a statement, saying that YiSpecter apparently only infects older versions of its iOS mobile operating system that have also downloaded malware from suspicious sources. The iPhone maker had addressed this particular concern when it released iOS 8.4, and the company has also made efforts to block the identified mobile apps that contain this malware. To help prevent this malware from spreading, Apple is recommending to mobile users to stay updated with the most recent version of iOS for the newest software updates. Also, the tech giant is imploring users to download only from legitimate sources, such as the App Store, and always be wary of warnings before downloading mobile apps.
Apple had releasediOS 9, the latest version of iOS, just weeks ago last September 16th of this year. The company is saying that updating to iOS 9 increases the likelihood of not getting infected with the YiSpecter malware. As mentioned earlier, YiSpecter mostly affects those devices installed with iOS 8.3 or older, and can only infect users if they download mobile apps from untrusted sources outside the App Store. Furthermore, Apple has made a move to revoke the certificates used for the mobile apps that carry the YiSpecter malware.
Once YiSpecter gets into a mobile device, it starts to install unwanted apps -- replacing trusted apps with those it has downloaded without authorization, making apps display full screen ads, editing bookmarks without warning, and even sending user data back to the malware’s server. The sad thing is even when mobile users manually delete the malware from their iOS handsets, YiSpecter reappears.
The YiSpecter malware first infected mobile devices by disguising itself as a mobile app that allows users to access pornographic content for free. It then spread to other devices via hijacked traffic from web connection providers, a specifics Windows worm that first attacked Tencent’s QQ instant messaging service, and online communities wherein users often install third party mobile apps in order get promo fees from developers.
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