iPhone, iPad and Mac users hit by malware as Apple blocks WireLurker virus in China

Lynsey Barber
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Apple blocks malware in China (Source: Getty)

Apple has blocked malicious software which targets users of Apple smartphones, tablets and computers, particularly in China.

The malware, spotted by US research company Palo Alto Networks, is known as WireLucker and can infect any devices running Apple’s operating systems, including iPhones, iPads and Macs.

WireLurker infects devices through app downloads and can steal information. More than 400 apps have been infected with the malware, which have been downloaded more than 350,000 times.

The virus could affect hundreds of thousands of Apple users, and has largely affected those in China where it’s thought to have originated.

Apple said "We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching. As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources," in a statement to Reuters.

In the Palo Alto Networks report, the firm said: “WireLurker is capable of stealing a variety of information from the mobile devices it infects and regularly requests updates from the attackers command and control server. This malware is under active development and its creator’s ultimate goal is not yet clear.”

The virus works by first infecting a Mac through apps downloaded from a third-party app store. It can then be transferred to other devices attached to the computer via USB, and downloads malicious apps on to the devices without users knowing.

Apple advises that users only download apps from its official app store and keep software up to date.

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