Security research firm Palo Alto Networks published a research article Wednesday about a new malware that affects iOS and OS X devices.

malware depicted infecting computer
Wirelurker attacks iOS devices and Macs

From Palo Alto Networks:

WireLurker was used to trojanize 467 OS X applications on the Maiyadi App Store, a third-party Mac application store in China. In the past six months, these 467 infected applications were downloaded over 356,104 times and may have impacted hundreds of thousands of users.

WireLurker works by monitoring any iOS device connected via USB with an infected OS X computer. Once it detects such a device it installs third-party applications or other malicious applications onto the device. Once the malware has affected the device it can steal sensitive information, self replicate, request and receive updates from the creator, and hide itself within the system. This malware’s characteristics make for one  really nasty virus.

But there are steps that you can take to prevent or minimize your chance of infection.

  • Only download apps from trusted sources (e.g. Mac App store)
  • Use an antivirus software and keep signatures up to date
  • Do not pair your iOS device with any untrusted computer
  • Keep your iOS and OS X version up-to-date
  • In your OS X System Preferences under Security and Privacy make sure you have the option “Allow apps downloaded from: Mac App store and identified developers” checked
  • Avoid charging your device your device through unknown or untrusted sources

This shouldn’t be of much concern to most users, so far users have mostly been targeted in China. But precautions should still be taken to be safe.

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