A new iOS virus has been doing the rounds recently that has the ability to install malicious third party apps.
The virus, dubbed ‘Masque Attack’ targets iOS systems by masquerading as a legitimate app. The virus spreads by employing phishing links in text messages or e-mails, which reads something like “Hey, check this out, the new Flappy Bird”. The link directs to a website where users will be prompted to install an app, a malicious version of Gmail that installs over the original app from the App Store. This essentially makes the malicious app difficult to detect, making it that much more dangerous.
The threat of Masque Attack is much bigger than recent iOS vulnerabilities like WireLurker due to its ability to disguise itself as legitimate apps. This means that the virus can replace banking or security apps, allowing them to steal key account information with relative ease. This virus was first detected by security research FireEye, who have studied the virus on got it to work on various versions of iOS 7 and 8 including the beta version of 8.1.1. Apple has been notified by FireEye regarding this virus.
For now, Apple users can protect themselves with the following steps:
1. Never install apps from third-party sources other than the App Store
2, Never click ‘Install’ on SMS, e-mails or websites
3. Never use apps that raise the “Untrusted App Developer” Alert.
To our Apple using friends, do be wary suspicious SMS, e-mails or websites and take the necessary precautions to keep your device safe. We will update you if there is any fixes for the Masque Attack virus when it is announced.