12 February 2015
Hackers are using spyware to steal text messages, contacts, pictures and other personal information from iPhones, according to computer security experts.
Anti-virus company Trend Micro claims it has discovered new software that infects iPhones running iOS 7 and iOS8.
The software is spread via phishing attacks that are sent from the phones of friends and associates to encourage targets to click on a link and install the spyware.
The XAgent malware will run on Apple devices like the new iPhone 6 (above) even if they are not jailbroken.
Known as XAgent, the spyware will then collect text messages, contact lists, pictures, location data, lists of apps and any software running on the device.
This information is then sent to a remote server while the malware will also switch on the iPhone’s microphone and record everything going on around it.
Trend Micro believe the malware has been created by a group of Russian hackers who have in the past been targetting governments, the military and the media.
It is thought that XAgent was designed by the group to help them obtain information from specific high profile targets.
Trend Micro said it had also identified a second malware programme that is focused on recording audio from so-called ‘jailbroken’ devices. These devices have had limitations on their iOS software removed, which can compromise the phone’s security.
Feike Hacquebord, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro, said: ‘While spyware targeting Apple users is highly notable by itself, this particular spyware is also involved in a targetted attack.
‘The XAgent app is fully functional malware. After being installed on iOS 7, the app’s icon is hidden and it runs in the background immediately.
‘When we try to terminate it by killing the process, it will restart almost immediately.
‘Installing the malware into an iOS 8 device yields different results. The icon is not hidden and it also cannot restart automatically.
‘This suggests that the malware was designed prior to the release of iOS 8 last September 2014.’
Nearly three quarters of Apple iPhones and tablets are now thought to be using iOS8, although a quarter are still running the older iOS7 software.
This could mean that up to 200 million devices could be the most vulnerable to the spyware.
Trend Micro believe the XAgent malware is related to another type of spyware it has been tracking that works on Microsoft Windows’ systems called SEDNIT.
They claim that the malware has been created by a group of hackers that it calls Operation Pawn Storm.
Source – http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2941340/Hackers-target-iPhones-Malware-runs-iOS7-iOS8-steal-photos-texts-contacts-reveal-location.html