XcodeGhost iOS Trojan Infected Over 4000 Apps


So the recent XcodeGhost iOS Trojan Infection has escalated quickly, an initial estimate of 39 infected apps has rapidly increased to over 4000!

XcodeGhost iOS Infection Over 4000 Apps

You can see the FireEye announcement here: Protecting Our Customers from XcodeGhost

XCodeGhost is the first instance of the iOS App Store distributing a large number of trojanized apps, the malicious/infected apps steal device and user information and send stolen data to a command and control (CnC) server

The number of XCodeGhost-infected iOS apps, initially pegged at 39, has ballooned to more than 4,000.

The staggering increase was the handiwork of analysis by FireEye researchers who said that the apps were being hosted on the official Apple App Store.

“Immediately after learning of XcodeGhost, FireEye Labs identified more than 4,000 infected apps on the App Store,” FireEye said.

The malicious apps steal device and user information and send stolen data to a command and control (CnC) server [and] also accept remote commands including the ability to open URLs sent by the CnC server.

These URLs can be phishing webpages for stealing credentials, or a link to an enterprise-signed malicious app that can be installed on non-jailbroken devices.

A FireEye spokesman told Vulture South that many of the infected apps were owned by “big Chinese global brands” such as consumer electronics, telcos, and banks.

The Register has asked FireEye for the names of some of the prominent affected apps and will update this story should the information come to hand.

FireEye put the huge increase in the number of discovered apps to fast scanning by its mobile threat prevention platform.


It seems to be heavily linked to China, with the original XcodeGhost author also being Chinese, you can see the code repo here: XcodeGhost

A translation using Google sees the author apologise and say he wrote this as a personal experiment and the original only collects non-personal data like device type, iOS version, language, country, device name and so on.

Apple has continued to exorcise the App Store of malicious apps uploaded in what has been widely considered to be Cupertino’s first big malware attack.

The apps were infected after developers downloaded a copy of the Xcode iOS development tool through a file-sharing service. That package was modified to trojanise apps in a way that passed App Store security checks, and was advertised on popular developer forums as a faster source to download the 3Gb Xcode file.

The success of the XCodeGhost phish is staggering; that some 4,000 apps were hosed indicates that a lot of developers were sucked into what must have been a very well-executed attack by highly capable malefactors.

Veracode principal solutions architect John Smith said that the attack challenged the notion that iOS was safer than Android.

“In recent years it has seemed that the problem of mobile malware was bigger for Android than for iOS,” Smith said.

“The more rigorous testing regime required before an iOS app can be published has always been considered to be the reason for this difference, but in this case it seems to have fallen short.”

From an infection graph, it seems like it’s been going on for a while, since April 2015 at least – but there’s been a huge peak in infected apps in September.

It’s surprising that such a large number of apps were able to violate Apple’s stringent App Store policies for such an extended period of time.

Even then, it seems like the implementation of XcodeGhost isn’t that malicious and they aren’t sending much more than the original author intended.

Source: The Register

Posted in: Apple, Exploits/Vulnerabilities, Malware

, ,


Latest Posts:


RandIP - Network Mapper To Find Servers RandIP – Network Mapper To Find Servers
RandIP is a nim-based network mapper application that generates random IP addresses and uses sockets to test whether the connection is valid or not with additional tests for Telnet and SSH.
Nipe - Make Tor Default Gateway For Network Nipe – Make Tor Default Gateway For Network
Nipe is a Perl script to make Tor default gateway for network, this script enables you to directly route all your traffic from your computer to the Tor network.
Mosca - Manual Static Analysis Tool To Find Bugs Mosca – Manual Static Analysis Tool To Find Bugs
Mosca is a manual static analysis tool written in C designed to find bugs in the code before it is compiled, much like a grep unix command.
Slurp - Amazon AWS S3 Bucket Enumerator Slurp – Amazon AWS S3 Bucket Enumerator
Slurp is a blackbox/whitebox S3 bucket enumerator written in Go that can use a permutations list to scan externally or an AWS API to scan internally.
US Government Cyber Security Still Inadequate US Government Cyber Security Still Inadequate
Surprise, surprise, surprise - an internal audit of the US Government cyber security situation has uncovered widespread weaknesses, legacy systems and poor adoption of cyber controls and tooling.
BloodHound - Hacking Active Directory Trust Relationships BloodHound – Hacking Active Directory Trust Relationships
BloodHound is for hacking active directory trust relationships and it uses graph theory to reveal the hidden and often unintended relationships within an AD environment.


Comments are closed.