Apps Popular In China Infected With Malware Through Apple iOS

Apps Popular In China Infected With Malware
Apple apps in China have been compromised by a malware infection traced to developers using unauthorized tool kits. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

BEIJING, Sept. 21 (UPI) — Several of China’s most popular applications on Apple’s iOS mobile platform are infected with malicious software, researchers said.

About three dozen apps, available i Apple’s App Store, were found to be infected in an unusual security breach for the company, which is noted for the time and expense it takes to ascertain the security of its apps. Among the iPhone and iPad apps compromised are the chat app WeChat, the car-hailing app Didi Kuaidi and a music app from NetEase Inc.

Researchers at Alibaba Mobile Security, an antivirus division of China’s Alibaba, confirmed the breach. They said the compromised happened when software developers inadvertently used unauthorized versions of Apple’s developer tool kit Xcode to update apps, then sell them to Chinese customer.

“To protect our customers, we’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software and we are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps,” Apple said in a statement Sunday.

Palo Alto Networks, Inc., a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, said in a statement that “In China, and in other places around the world, sometimes network speeds are very slow when downloading large files from Apple’s servers. As the standard Xcode installer is nearly three gigabytes, some Chinese developers choose to download the package from other sources.”

The WeChat app has 500 million users, its owner, the Chinese Internet portal company Tencent said, and about 15 percent of China’s smartphones are Apple products. The number of customers potentially affected by the breach could number in the millions.


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