Apple’s iOS has been hit by another malware attack, exposing iPhones to hackers.
So, what does this mean if you’ve got an iPhone?
And how can you protect yourself and your data? Read on and we’ll answer all the key questions about this latest assault on iOS.
What’s the bug called?
AceDeceiver. As clever as it is harmful, it attacks affected iPhones via apps installed without the knowledge of their owners, making it extremely difficult for Apple and its software engineers to stop.
How does it work?
AceDeceiver exploits holes in an Apple digital rights management tool called FairPlay.
This service is designed to stop pirated apps making it onto the App Store and iPhones in general.
The malware makes it way onto iPhones via third party software management tools for PCs.
When users install an official app, iOS uses a special app authorisation code to check it’s legitimate.
These management tools are able to read these codes and then use them to install dodgy apps without users knowing, leaving data and information ripe for attack. This is known as a ‘man in the middle’ attack.
How has Apple responded?
Apple made moves to remove AceDeceiver apps from its App Store back in February.
However, because hackers are using official authorisation codes to install apps automatically, they are still able to attack iPhones which use the aforementioned PC management tools.
Apple has yet to release a statement to say it has fixed the problem, although expect it to be working hard to get things sorted as soon as possible.
Is this a global problem?
No. For now, it seems only Chinese iPhone owners have been affected.
The same happened with a malware attack in October 2015, which saw iPhone owners in China hit after they used third party app stores to install add–ons.
Third-party app stores are far more prevalent in China than elsewhere.
How can AceDeceiver be stopped?
While Apple works on a fix, the same advice applies to AceDeceiver as it did to last year’s attack.
PC owners should only use iTunes to manage their iOS devices and no one should use third party app stores or software to keep their devices up–to–date.
The chances of being attacked when using official Apple software is much, much lower.
Should I be worried?
If you’re based in the UK and install apps via your PC, Mac or directly from your iPhone, then no.
If you are concerned, then make sure your software versions are bang up to date and show a healthy distrust to any apps which show up on your iPhone which you don’t remember installing.