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Why iPhones are Not Safe from new iOS Malware

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One of the most robust discussions on tech forums is the safety of Android vs. iPhone.

One side of the debate vouches for the safety of Android devices. The other side swears on the safety and increased security features that iPhones now possess. A person with little knowledge on these issues would struggle to take sides and conclude that finding a safe phone that is not susceptible to malware is an impossible task.

What does the Malware do?

A new iOS malware has been targeting iPhones lately. A few days ago, reports from China and Taiwan indicated that iPhones were under attack by a new iOS malware. YiSpecter is the name of this malicious software that seems to target iPhones only. The malware is capable of not only hijacking apps but also the Safari browser. The goal of the malware in doing all of these is to display full-screen ads on iPhones.

Displaying full-screen ads on iPhones can be an annoying habit when you do not know what to do. Moreover, the app is also capable of not only installing, but also launching arbitrary iOS apps. It is also able to remove all the apps that you installed on your gadget, and replace these with the ones it just downloaded.  This can also be quite frustrating depending on whether you paid for the apps it just removed from your phone.

QVOD is the Culprit

The malware tricks its victims by convincing them to download what looks like a private version of QVOD – a media player that might be popular but is now defunct. QVOD was popular in China because it made life easier for users who wanted to share pornographic content using their iPhones. This was a remarkable feat considering that pornography is considered illegal in China.

Malware and APIs

The YiSpecter malware installs itself on infected iOS devices through private APIs, also known as Application Programming Interfaces. Afterwards, it is able to trick Spring Board, an iOS program responsible for managing stuff such as app icons that are on the home screen, thus ensuring that nobody can remove them.  Where another malware requires jailbreaking the iOS phone to infect the device, YiSpecter achieves its goal without such requirements.

Avoid Apps from Third Party Sources

Therefore, this is further proof that iPhones and Androids are not exempt from issues regarding their complete safety from malware attack. Chinese and Taiwanese iPhone users are the latest proof that such devices do not have full-proof protection against all types of malware. New malware enters the market every day. Some malware is not effective, but others like YiSpecter, are proving devastating among iPhone users at least in China and Taiwan.

Consequently, avoid downloading apps from any third party source. Apple recommends purchasing apps only from the App Store or trustworthy sources.