Chinese iPhone users could be the target of latest App Store breach

The YiSpecter malware targets Chinese-speaking, for instance, by asking them to download a “porn browser.”

Apple's Phil Schiller showing a demo picture taken with the iPhone 6s

Few weeks after a major attack on the Apple iTunes App Store last month, security researchers have warned that iPhone and iPad users in China and Taiwan are still very much at risk from malicious software.

According to report by Palo Alto Networks’ Unit 24 research team, a new software family, known as YiSpecter, can affect both jailbroken and non-jailbroken Apple devices, which in turn means all iPhone users are potentially vulnerable.

"Attackers are finding more and more ways to attack the iOS ecosystem nowadays because it is so lucrative," said Claud Xiao, a Unit 42 senior security researcher.

The YiSpecter malware targets Chinese-speaking, for instance, by asking them to download a “porn browser,” or through mobile internet advertisements that request users to install an app to see exclusive content.

Once the malware is on a users’ device, it quickly downloads extra apps, and hijacks existing ones, hiding them from the users homescreens obstructing them from deleting the malware, even if they know it is there.

Apple is famously known for the security of its mobile operating system, especially in comparison to Android. According to the latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, about 1 million Android apps, or 17% of the total number of Android apps, were infected by viruses.

Apple’s reputation has however come under threat. IN September, the tech giant had to remove 39 apps, including the popular messaging app WeChat, from the official store after they were found to be infected with malware via a modified version of Apple’s software development kit, Xcode.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: