WireLurker Malware Affecting Apple Devices 'Is Unlike Anything Ever Seen'

Nov 06, 2014 06:40 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Malware is rapidly becoming more sophisticated, something that could spell trouble when we're all riding in self-driving cars that are basically computers on wheels.

An insidious malware called WireLurker has been circumventing Apple's safety measures to infect iPhones and iPads to steal information and install other malicious apps, BBC News reported.

"WireLurker is unlike anything we've ever seen in terms of Apple iOS and OS X malware," said Ryan Olson, Palo Alto Network's intelligence director, as quoted by BBC News. "The techniques in use suggest that bad actors are getting more sophisticated when it comes to exploiting some of the world's best-known desktop and mobile platforms."

The malware seems to have originated in China, where it has been infecting Mac computers and then spreading to other devices when they are attached by USB cable.

WireLurker first surfaced in June, after which 467 Mac programs listed on the Maiyadi App Store were found to be infected by the malware. The malicious software had been downloaded 356,104 times as of Oct. 16, according to the BBC report.

"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," Apple said in a statement. "As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources."

Car enthusiasts who are ready for the self-driving future should remember that autonomous vehicles will be far more vulnerable to hacking. In a report this summer, the FBI warned that auto-pilot cars could become "lethal weapons" in nefarious hands.  

"Autonomy ... will make mobility more efficient, but will also open up greater possibilities for dual-use applications and ways for a car to be more of a potential lethal weapon that it is today," FBI agents wrote in the report.

And not to get too carried away, but what about a future where your car and your home appliances are part of the Internet of things? Let's hope wireless security gets safer and smarter before your thermostat and coffee cup can be turned against you.

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