Faced with the latest report from the Wandera security agency, which discovered a number of applications in the AppStore store containing malware that affected thousands of Apple phones, you might wonder if your iPhone or iPad is really immune to cyber attacks. While iOS is generally not vulnerable to viruses or even many types of malware, there are other security threats against which you should protect your devices.
What keeps iOS more secure? Unlike Android applications, iPhone and iPad apps can only be downloaded through the official App Store. This prevents malicious software from infecting your device through fake applications. IOS applications are also framed in what is known as sandboxes, which means that they cannot access the data of other apps or enter the operating system of your device.
In addition, iOS implements its updates on all devices simultaneously, which helps prevent security vulnerabilities so that hackers cannot take advantage of them. Android also protects your applications, but its approach is less restrictive than iOS, which allows apps to gain more control over phones.
However, that does not necessarily mean that it is impossible to infect an iPhone with a virus. Thanks to Apple's safety precautions, this is extremely rare. But malware can make its way into an iPhone if the device is unlocked or released (jailbroken). This allows iPhone and iPad users to download applications from sources other than the App Store, but also exposes them to potential threats.
Experts say that a jailbroken iPhone is as vulnerable to malware as an Android device, and that even without unlocking the device, iPhone users are vulnerable to other security threats, such as phishing, insecure Wi-Fi networks and identity theft.
How can your iPhone get infected?
Downloading a malicious application is the most common way for malware to enter your device. Once there, you can execute a series of actions that can compromise your online security. In the case of the applications detected by the mobile security company Wandera, they all come from the same developer, AppAspect Technologies. While the apps worked properly according to what they claimed to do, they also harbored some hidden dangers, such as a series of Trojan viruses and malware.
According to the researchers, the Trojan module discovered in this group of applications was designed to carry out tasks related to advertising fraud in the background, such as continuously opening web pages or clicking on links without any user interaction.
Although it is a virus, in this case the only impact for users would have been slower phone performance and greater use of the internet or cellular connection. Applications were able to bypass Apple's approval process because malicious activity was occurring not within the application code, but through contact with a remote server. The complete list of infected applications was released, and it is recommended to remove them immediately.