Chinese sites hosting 'Wirelurker' Mac-to-iOS malware taken down, suspects arrested

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2014
A Beijing government agency on Monday announced the arrest of three suspects thought to be behind the so-called "WireLurker" trojan targeting Mac and iOS devices, saying websites hosting the malware have been shut down.

Gatekeeper OS X Yosemite


In a post to Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said it identified and subsequently closed down "WireLurker" operations last Friday. Three suspects were taken into custody under charges of conspiring to use the malware to illegal profits. The news was first spotted by ZDNet.

Detailed in a paper from security research firm Palo Alto Networks earlier this month, WireLurker is a specialized piece of malware that inserts itself onto a Mac running OS X, then jumps to iOS devices over USB. Unlike past attacks, WireLurker is capable of affecting non-jailbroken hardware. The program has reportedly been in the wild for past six months in China.

Taking advantage of an app provisioning vulnerability, WireLurker lays dormant on a user's computer in an infected OS X app. The malware monitors for new iOS devices and installs malicious apps downloaded from an off-site server or generated autonomously on-device. From there, the program can access user information like contacts, read iMessages and perform other functions determined by the command-and-control server.

As noted by AppleInsider, WireLurker is only a threat to users who disable Apple's default security measures, as the enterprise provisioning certificates used in the attack were blocked by Apple shortly after discovery.

With Apple's global smartphone marketshare continues to rise, so do the number of attempts to surreptitiously harvest data from unsuspecting consumers. A week after WireLurker popped up on the radar, another piece of malware dubbed "Masque Attack" was discovered. Masque Attack also takes advantage of Apple's app provisioning system to install nefarious software on iOS devices, but is unique in that it replicates existing apps to trick users into handing over sensitive information.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,086member

    China still has a long ways to go regarding human rights but it appears they are finally cracking down on some illegal behavior and that's a good sign. Time we give them a second chance to prove themselves.

  • Reply 2 of 14
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,172member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by rob53 View Post

     

    China still has a long ways to go regarding human rights but it appears they are finally cracking down on some illegal behavior and that's a good sign. Time we give them a second chance to prove themselves.


     

    Well they can't have their own people doing it for profit and to screw people over for the fun of it, that's for the Government to do.  So go to jail or Work for US!!!

  • Reply 3 of 14
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JBDragon View Post

     

     

    Well they can't have their own people doing it for profit and to screw people over for the fun of it, that's for the Government to do.  So go to jail or Work for US!!!




    Yeah, I can't help but wonder if the government there plans to use this for their own purposes.

  • Reply 4 of 14
    rob53 wrote: »
    China still has a long ways to go regarding human rights but it appears they are finally cracking down on some illegal behavior and that's a good sign. Time we give them a second chance to prove themselves.

    So are every other country, especially the US, but, yes, they are a farther behind than many others.
  • Reply 5 of 14
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,372member
    Wow, Apple certainly has some 'clout' in China, to use an English expression.
  • Reply 6 of 14
    solipsismy wrote: »
    rob53 wrote: »
    China still has a long ways to go regarding human rights but it appears they are finally cracking down on some illegal behavior and that's a good sign. Time we give them a second chance to prove themselves.

    So are every other country, especially the US, but, yes, they are a farther behind than many others.

    I agree. It would be foolish to not assume that every country acts in its own self interest.
  • Reply 7 of 14
    shsfshsf Posts: 302member

    Tim's visit paid off. 

  • Reply 8 of 14
    Wow, Apple certainly has some 'clout' in China, to use an English expression.


    Xi Jinping's wife uses an iPhone, she told him to take care of this. :lol:


    Quoted the wrong post originally.
  • Reply 9 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,159member

    Likely a little theatrical performance put on for social and political effect. So they've plucked one grain of sand away from the mass beachfront of cyber security exploits being purposefully developed under centralized control and orchestration by our benevolent trading partner and source of affordable technology labor. I feel so much safer now, but they already knew that.

  • Reply 10 of 14
    On a side note, Chinese Government just had three new employees.
  • Reply 11 of 14
    Aha...so now they basicly work for the Chinese Government.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,159member

    In all likelihood the sponsorship of the development of these exploits against major US firms can be traced back to government/state sources. Since this one is not particularly sophisticated and now that the cat's out of the bag, it can be defunded and sponsorship redeployed to other areas that may bear more fruit. It also gives the Chinese government a little showcase for showing the rest of the world how well they are policing their cyber security "problem" or "R&D campaign" - depending on whose point of view you take. 

  • Reply 13 of 14
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 21,115member
    shsf wrote: »
    Tim's visit paid off. 
    Tim's visit paid off whom? :drumroll: bah, dah dum :D


    (Sorry, it was just laying there waiting for the punchline)
  • Reply 14 of 14
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SHSF View Post

     

    Tim's visit paid off. 


    Agreed

    Tim, working for customer satisfaction and security. Can the CEO of Microsoft do this for when Surface gets viruses from other countries?

    Perfect way to beat the "Surface vs MacBook Air" ads. Can YOUR CEO do that? :D

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