Apple begins cleaning the iOS App Store from apps infected by the ‘XcodeGhost’ malware
Late on Sunday night, Apple revealed to Reuters that it has started cleaning the iOS App Store to remove applications that are infected by the ‘XcodeGhost’ malware.
XcodeGhost, as we told you about yesterday, is malware that is attached to several legitimate App Store apps. The apps were infected due to using an illegitimate version of Xcode, which was downloaded from a third-party server in China. Most of the infected apps are of Chinese origin, but there are a few apps impacted, WeChat to name one, that are popular in other territories.
This is the first time that the iOS App Store has been subjected to a malware attack of this scale, with more than 50+ apps being infected that were used by millions of iOS users worldwide. This includes some popular apps like WeChat and CamCard that are used by millions of iOS users from across the globe.
Here’s Apple’s statement to Reuters:
“We’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software,” Apple spokeswoman Christine Monaghan said in an email. “We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.”
Apple has not provided any solution for users who already have the infected apps installed on their iPhone or iPad.but it is undoubtedly working hard on identifying every single last app that has been targeted by the malware.
the XcodeGhost malware has affected dozens of legitimate apps in the Chinese App Store with 76 popular apps being affected so far, reported by iFeng News, including WeChat, apps from China Mobile and Citic Bank, etc.
The ‘XcodeGhost’ malware directly affects the Xcode compiler for iOS and OS X that were used by Chinese developers to create their apps. These apps were then uploaded to the App Store where they successfully passed Apple’s review and were made available for public download.
Developers should only download Xcode from the Mac App Store or Apple’s official developer portal. Downloading Xcode or any developer related assets from third-party sources is just asking for trouble.
There’s no current Apple-sanctioned method for a user to identify whether or not they’ve has been compromised, but we’ve heard that the Pangu team, the same team behind iOS jailbreaks for iOS 8, has released a tool to help identify infected apps.