iOS devices hit by AdThief malware


September 01, 2014

Apple iPhones and iPads are being targeted by a malware called AdThief, which has so far impacted 75,000 devices, according to details provided by Fortinet in a Virus Bulletin.

AdThief was discovered in March of this year, and was found to hijack advertisement revenues and redirect them to the attacker. These advertisements commonly seen in mobile apps as an alternative way of receiving compensation for development.

"In other words, each time you view or click an ad on an infected device, the corresponding revenue goes to the attacker, and not to the developer or the legitimate affiliate," the bulletin explained.

AdThief has now hijacked 22 million advertisements, in turn generating a significant amount of revenue for the cyber criminals.

According to the release, iOS malware isn't common, and only four families existed at the end of 2013. These included FindCall, Toires and Trapsms. While businesses may think only jailbroken devices are at risk, FindCall and Toires can be deployed on any device.

Due to debugging information left within the code, Fortinet were able to trace the origin of the malware back to a Chinese hacker.

"The hacker claims to have written parts of the code some time ago, but that a third party then improved it. He denies having participated in the spreading of the malware," the release explained.

Enterprise security can longer simply focus on areas of perceived threats, especially when attackers are targeting mobile devices. Vulnerability management needs to extend to most connected devices in use by the company.

Staff training should also become a primary focus. Even rudimentary IT security education can prevent simple data breaches and cyber attackers.

Companies will no doubt prefer to ensure system security now in place of incurring the cost of an expensive data breach further down the line.

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