Got an iPhone or iPad? LOOK OUT for MASQUE-D INTRUDERS

UNjailbroken iOS 7, 8 open to evil, says secbiz FireEye


Security experts have now probed further into the vuln in non-jailbroken iOS 7 and iOS 8 devices which was exploited by the previously revealed WireLurker USB-hopping malware.

Dubbed a “Masque Attack”, the tactic allows hackers to install iOS apps on iPhone or iPad via email or text message. The attack takes advantage of a security weakness that allows an iOS app with the same file name – regardless of developer – to replace a legitimate app on a post-iOS 7 device while keeping all of the user’s sensitive data.

The malicious app has to be signed using an enterprise certificate – normally useful for deploying software without having to go through the official App Store – and the user has to click through a warning.

The vast majority (95 per cent) of all iOS devices are potentially vulnerable, according to researchers at security biz FireEye.

A demo video put together by FireEye shows how it might be possible to replace a real Gmail app with a fake utility in order to steal the user’s login credentials, as well as collect all of their emails.

So the Masque Attack creates a means to replace genuine apps with malware on non-jailbroken iOS devices using social engineering trickery. Masque Attacks can happen completely over the wireless network, without relying on an infected-computer-to-iThing USB connection to spread WireLurker.

The Masque Attack also creates a means for hackers to successfully skirt detection by mobile device management software by taking advantage of Apple’s private APIs, which are usually reserved for standard iOS apps.

"Apple has been informed in July 2014 about Masque Attack," a Fireye spokeswoman told El Reg. "As far as we know, they are working on a fix."

"This vulnerability exists because iOS doesn't enforce matching certificates for apps with the same bundle identifier and the attacker can craft the message shown to the user at install time,” the spokeswoman continued. “After the malware replaces an authentic app, the authentic app's local data were not removed and these data were accessible to the malware."

"Wirelurker is the first known malware using the Masque attack. Fortunately, it hasn't conducted more powerful attacks," she added.

FireEye's public release of information about the Masque Attack comes days after the discovery of WireLurker, the first malware capable of spreading onto non-jailbroken Apple iOS devices from infected Mac OS X systems.

If WireLurker shook up the widely held assumption that non-jailbroken iPhones and iPads were immune from malware, then the release of information about the Masque Attack further stirs the pot.

Pending the availability of a patch from Apple, FireEye advises iThings users to only install apps from Apple’s official App Store or the user’s own organisation, among other precautions.

Jeremy Linden, senior security product manager at mobile security firm Lookout, said that the Masque Attack represented a change in direction in where threats might come from and look like.

“In the past these types of vulnerabilities involved dropping an app on your phone, but one thing that’s new about Masque Attack is that it uses an icon that’s already on your phone and replaces the app behind it," Linden commented. "If you just saw a random banking app on page 5 of your iPhone, you’re not going to be eager to click it and enter your login credentials. But if you’re already trusting this icon, you might. Classic social engineering at play."

Linden said that there were a number of mitigating factors, chiefly the need for an attacker to "obtain an enterprise provisioning profile or steal one, neither of which are trivial".

In addition, there would also always be a warning to the user, which should look suspicious because it’s not something you would normally see in iOS. ®


Other stories you might like

  • Florida's content-moderation law kept on ice, likely unconstitutional, court says
    So cool you're into free speech because that includes taking down misinformation

    While the US Supreme Court considers an emergency petition to reinstate a preliminary injunction against Texas' social media law HB 20, the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday partially upheld a similar injunction against Florida's social media law, SB 7072.

    Both Florida and Texas last year passed laws that impose content moderation restrictions, editorial disclosure obligations, and user-data access requirements on large online social networks. The Republican governors of both states justified the laws by claiming that social media sites have been trying to censor conservative voices, an allegation that has not been supported by evidence.

    Multiple studies addressing this issue say right-wing folk aren't being censored. They have found that social media sites try to take down or block misinformation, which researchers say is more common from right-leaning sources.

    Continue reading
  • US-APAC trade deal leaves out Taiwan, military defense not ruled out
    All fun and games until the chip factories are in the crosshairs

    US President Joe Biden has heralded an Indo-Pacific trade deal signed by several nations that do not include Taiwan. At the same time, Biden warned China that America would help defend Taiwan from attack; it is home to a critical slice of the global chip industry, after all. 

    The agreement, known as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), is still in its infancy, with today's announcement enabling the United States and the other 12 participating countries to begin negotiating "rules of the road that ensure [US businesses] can compete in the Indo-Pacific," the White House said. 

    Along with America, other IPEF signatories are Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Combined, the White House said, the 13 countries participating in the IPEF make up 40 percent of the global economy. 

    Continue reading
  • 381,000-plus Kubernetes API servers 'exposed to internet'
    Firewall isn't a made-up word from the Hackers movie, people

    A large number of servers running the Kubernetes API have been left exposed to the internet, which is not great: they're potentially vulnerable to abuse.

    Nonprofit security organization The Shadowserver Foundation recently scanned 454,729 systems hosting the popular open-source platform for managing and orchestrating containers, finding that more than 381,645 – or about 84 percent – are accessible via the internet to varying degrees thus providing a cracked door into a corporate network.

    "While this does not mean that these instances are fully open or vulnerable to an attack, it is likely that this level of access was not intended and these instances are an unnecessarily exposed attack surface," Shadowserver's team stressed in a write-up. "They also allow for information leakage on version and build."

    Continue reading
  • A peek into Gigabyte's GPU Arm for AI, HPC shops
    High-performance platform choices are going beyond the ubiquitous x86 standard

    Arm-based servers continue to gain momentum with Gigabyte Technology introducing a system based on Ampere's Altra processors paired with Nvidia A100 GPUs, aimed at demanding workloads such as AI training and high-performance compute (HPC) applications.

    The G492-PD0 runs either an Ampere Altra or Altra Max processor, the latter delivering 128 64-bit cores that are compatible with the Armv8.2 architecture.

    It supports 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, which would be enough space for up to 4TB of memory if all slots were filled with 256GB memory modules. The chassis also has space for no fewer than eight Nvidia A100 GPUs, which would make for a costly but very powerful system for those workloads that benefit from GPU acceleration.

    Continue reading
  • GitLab version 15 goes big on visibility and observability
    GitOps fans can take a spin on the free tier for pull-based deployment

    One-stop DevOps shop GitLab has announced version 15 of its platform, hot on the heels of pull-based GitOps turning up on the platform's free tier.

    Version 15.0 marks the arrival of GitLab's next major iteration and attention this time around has turned to visibility and observability – hardly surprising considering the acquisition of OpsTrace as 2021 drew to a close, as well as workflow automation, security and compliance.

    GitLab puts out monthly releases –  hitting 15.1 on June 22 –  and we spoke to the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, about what will be added to version 15 as time goes by. During a chat with the company's senior director of Product, Kenny Johnston, at the recent Kubecon EU event, The Register was told that this was more where dollars were being invested into the product.

    Continue reading
  • To multicloud, or not: Former PayPal head of engineering weighs in
    Not everyone needs it, but those who do need to consider 3 things, says Asim Razzaq

    The push is on to get every enterprise thinking they're missing out on the next big thing if they don't adopt a multicloud strategy.

    That shove in the multicloud direction appears to be working. More than 75 percent of businesses are now using multiple cloud providers, according to Gartner. That includes some big companies, like Boeing, which recently chose to spread its bets across AWS, Google Cloud and Azure as it continues to eliminate old legacy systems. 

    There are plenty of reasons to choose to go with multiple cloud providers, but Asim Razzaq, CEO and founder at cloud cost management company Yotascale, told The Register that choosing whether or not to invest in a multicloud architecture all comes down to three things: How many different compute needs a business has, budget, and the need for redundancy. 

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022