Nearly a couple of weeks after it was first discovered, Chinese authorities have taken into custody three people suspected of being involved in the creation and distribution of the WireLurker malware, according to a statement (in Mandarin) by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Public Security.
Acting on a tip from Chinese security company Qihoo 360 Technology, law enforcement authorities arrested the suspects, identified as Chen, Li, and Wang, last week and charged them with conspiring to use malware to profit illegally.
Discovered by security experts at Palo Alto Network, WireLurker works by infecting Mac computers and then hopping to iOS devices connected to the infected machines via USB. Capable of infecting both jailbroken and non-jailbroken iOS devices, the malware can steal a victim’s address book, read iMessage text messages, and request updates from its command-and-control server.
The malware is known to have infected a total of 467 applications present in the Maiyadi App Store, a third-party Mac app store in China. Acting quickly, Apple blocked the infected apps, which had been downloaded over 350,000 times until then. Police say the Maiyadi website has also been shut down.
Shortly after WireLurker grabbed headlines, researchers at mobile security research firm FireEye uncovered another security flaw that allows hackers to install fake third-party apps on an iOS device. Although Apple downplayed the threat posed by the vulnerability, the US government went ahead and issued a warning.