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Thread: Potential Malware Makes it Through App Store Review Process

  1. #1
    MMi Staff Writer Michael Essany's Avatar
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    Default Potential Malware Makes it Through App Store Review Process


    Should we start with the good news or the bad news? Let's start with the good.

    This week, an iOS app available in Apple's App Store was found to contain an embedded Trojan horse. Auspiciously, the app isn't nefarious and no immediate danger is presented.

    The bad news, however, is that this potential malware threat - regardless of how innocuous it may be - found its way past Apple's review process and managed to land inside of what some believe to be a secure fortress from malware.

    "The app Simply Find It, a $2 game from Simply Game, seems harmless enough. But if you run Bitdefender Virus Scanner—a free app in the Mac App Store—it will warn you about the presence of a Trojan horse within the app," says Lex Friedman of MacWorld. "A reader tipped Macworld off to the presence of the malware, and we confirmed it."

    Although Android has been proven to be a cesspool of malware, iOS territory is still considered to be a largely malware-free environment. This latest incident, of course, could suggest that the App Store isn't as immune to these threats as previously thought.

    Security expert Rich Mogull tells Friedman that the app causing all of this trouble in the first place is "certainly harmless."

    “If Apple tested the app by running it in a sandbox and watching the app’s activities, that would be more effective than scanning MP3s for malware strings,” Mogull explains. But it remains unclear how Apple actually tests apps. “Thus,” Mogull concludes, “we don’t know for sure if [any Apple malware-scanning] process worked or not. A malware link that never runs isn’t a threat, and there are very legitimate ways of testing that won’t find something like this if it isn’t a valid exploit.”

    Source: MacWorld

  2. #2
    If I had to make a guess? the developer themselves were infected with a trojan and when they compiled this app, the trojan probably attached to the app before it was submitted to apple for review.. keep in mind that both mac and pc use intel or intel compatable processors so this is probably an intel based trojan which couldn't run on an ARM based ios device .. that renders the trojan as nothing more than a harmless string of characters in the binary.

    What this does show is that apparently apple doesn't do any kind of heuristic scanning, or general scanning for know malware.. though unless the malware can run in an ARM environment, it would be useless anyway for the reason I mentioned above..
    Last edited by oneduality; 05-03-2013 at 01:22 PM.

  3. #3
    Apple try hard but to keep these things out but the odd one slipping through should be expected! I'm just thankful apple do try where as google seem to allow any app to be posted!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Essany View Post
    Android has been proven to be a cesspool of malware
    Not really.

  5. #5
    Super Sweet Moderator thetoothfairy's Avatar
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    Looks like Apple needs to be careful.

    "Always remember your special and unique!"

  6. #6
    "iOS territory is still considered to be a largely malware-free environment"

    Most hilarious sentence I've read all week, LOL!

    There are endless "legitimate" App store apps that steal your; Device ID (UDID), Address book content, Call history, SMS/MMS content, Location (current/historical), Music/Video collection list, Play lists, post to social networks without your permission. I can keep going. They also don't just phone home with your info either but send it to 3rd parties as well. All of this is the definition of MALWARE! So excuse me if I whole heartily disagree with the statement above. Oh, and BUY (don't pirate) FIREWALL-IP and be prepared to have mind blown!!

  7. #7
    iPhone? More like MyPhone 5kylar's Avatar
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    So everyone is going crazy over this trojan app because it CAN'T infect your phone? lol

  8. #8
    Starbucks Artist mmaboi21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5kylar View Post
    So everyone is going crazy over this trojan app because it CAN'T infect your phone? lol
    Yep

  9. #9
    Livin the iPhone Life steve-z17's Avatar
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    I wouldn't go as far to say that Android is a cesspool of malware, but it is more susceptible to it seeing as it's open source. One app out of probably hundreds or thousands that get processed every day...not a big deal!

  10. #10
    Double lol

  11. #11
    My iPhone is a Part of Me vinaygoel2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5kylar View Post
    So everyone is going crazy over this trojan app because it CAN'T infect your phone? lol
    No. Read the title of the post.

  12. #12
    "that would be more effective than scanning MP3s for malware strings"

    LOLWUT?! I recall an MP3 buffer overflow exploit in Windows where the mouse-over pop-up tooltip text would trigger a buffer overflow, but that's not what we are talking about here, is it? It required a very particular version of Windows Media Player or some Explorer DLL or something for Windows XP and was patched almost instantly, just like the JPG exploit.
    Last edited by CZroe; 05-12-2013 at 09:21 AM.

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