News of scary new iPhone malware dubbed “Key Raider” is trending online, but there’s a caveat — it only hits phones that are jailbroken.
“The average iPhone user is not affected by this,” said Tyler Reguly, manager of the vulnerability and exposure research team at Tripwire, a Portland, Ore.-based security company.
Jail breaking refers to removed the operating system hardware restrictions on an Apple device such as an iPhone, iPad or iPod. It’s done to allow downloads of non-Apple approved apps.
Tech-savvy iPhone users who “jailbreak” their phones to add new features could be putting their personal information at risk, after a recent data breach revealed the iOS devices are not invulnerable to hacking.
Most smartphones, including the iPhone, are coded to work only in the way the manufacturer intended. For instance, iOS users can only use applications approved by the Apple Store, and if the app costs money, it must be paid for using an Apple account. But jailbreaking a phone allows users to remove those restrictions and add or manipulate applications as much as they want.
Hackers have stolen more than 225,000 Apple accounts from iPhone customers.
Security company Palo Alto Networks is calling the attack “the largest known Apple account theft caused by malware.” Palo Alto Networks discovered the hack along with Chinese tech group WeipTech.
The good news for most iPhone customers is that the malware, nicknamed KeyRaider, only targets “jailbroken” iPhones.