Apple "WireLurker" Virus

Nov 10, 2014

Sad Ipad WireLurker VirusWhile Apple have always had a very good record with virus protection for their operating systems, the past weekend saw a new major infection for the companies devices called "WireLurker"; which targets both Mac Computers as well as apple tablets, phones & ipods. Targeting mainly China users right now, it did so through applications downloaded and installed from 3rd party application sites that weren't scanned by virus protection tools before being installed.

How does WireLurker Work?

WireLurker works by monitoring any iOS device, (including the iPod, iPhone and iPad range), connected to a Macintosh computer via USB.

  • The virus starts by infecting the Macintosh Operating System, through malicious files or links online.
  • When an apple device is connected to the infected Mac, the malware automatically installs malicious apps onto the phone or tablet infecting it.
  • It looks as if the malware combines a number of techniques to successfully allow the device become insecure, and open to data loss & theft; though the overall goal of the virus has yet to be identified. 

Is this an isolated case? Will there be more?

It should be noted that while the virus has been isolated to just users in China so far, the virus is under active development and does have the potential to continue to spread and move beyond China. It does raise an interesting point for Apple, and its users; as in the past it has largely escaped the virus plague that Microsoft has had to endure for two main reasons;

  • Apple has had a smaller market share (compared with Microsoft), and thus less of a reason for developers to make viruses for the platform.
  • Windows was more familiar to virus makers and thus easier to write for (with existing development tools and code already designed for Windows).

The above reasons are fast becoming mute and so Apple's software will continue to get more and more attention moving forward.

How can you protect yourself?

The simplest solution and way to protect yourself on iOS and Macintosh devices is to only download apps from the official Apple app store, and that you make sure to keep your software up to date. Antivirus software or managed agents don't hurt either; which I am going to post about further next week. Another effective solution is Cloud Desktops for Business, allowing for complete separation between work and your device. In all cases we can help - call us on 08 8922 0000 or contact us via email.

Daniel Ladlow

Daniel Ladlow
Tropical Business Solutions

Category: Technology

Daniel Ladlow


Director at Tropical Business Solutions