Apple Responds to 'Masque Attack' Vulnerability, Not Aware of Customers Affected by Attack

Just a couple days after the discovery of an iOS vulnerability referred to as Masque Attack because of its ability to emulate and replace existing legitimate apps with malicious ones, Apple has responded in a statement to iMore. 

"We designed OS X and iOS with built-in security safeguards to help protect customers and warn them before installing potentially malicious software," an Apple spokesperson told iMore. "We're not aware of any customers that have actually been affected by this attack. We encourage customers to only download from trusted sources like the App Store and to pay attention to any warnings as they download apps. Enterprise users installing custom apps should install apps from their company's secure website."

Masque Attack works by luring a user to install an app outside of the iOS App Store by clicking a phishing link in a text message or email. For example, a user could be prompted to download a new app in a text message that says something like "Hey, try out Flappy Bird 2". A user is then directed to a website where they're prompted to download the app, which will install the fake app over the legitimate one using iOS enterprise provision profiles, making it virtually undetectable.

Masque Attack in action
Earlier today, the United States government issued a warning about Masque Attack to iOS users. The vulnerability was discovered just a week after reports of malware called WireLurker surfaced. WireLurker is able to attack iOS devices through OS X using a USB cable. Both vulnerabilities are unlikely to affect the average iOS user as long as Apple's security features are not bypassed.

Both WireLurker and Masque Attack can be avoided by staying away from suspicious apps and avoiding links that prompt users to install apps outside of Apple's App Stores.

Top Rated Comments

hlfway2anywhere Avatar
88 months ago
why is being able to install faked apps on iPhone considered a vulnerability, when on every other OS the same thing could happen and they call it "open."
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rigby Avatar
88 months ago
why is being able to install faked apps on iPhone considered a vulnerability, when on every other OS the same thing could happen and they call it "open."
Because Apple always claims that their "closed" system is more secure than those others due to the review process?

Frankly, I don't understand why some people on this forum keep downplaying these security flaws. Perhaps they think they need to "defend" Apple, but that is misguided IMO. The "fappening" made it very obvious that Apple doesn't necessarily act to improve their security policies without public pressure. If that hadn't happended, we'd probably still have the weak iCloud security policy and incomplete 2-factor authentication. Public attention can only help to make the system more secure for everyone by forcing Apple to act.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bozzykid Avatar
88 months ago
why is being able to install faked apps on iPhone considered a vulnerability, when on every other OS the same thing could happen and they call it "open."

Because the apps replace an app that is already on the phone that is signed by a different developer. My guess is Apple is doing their usual "there is nothing to see here", while they are working to fix the issue as quietly as possible.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
spectrumfox Avatar
88 months ago
Quite honestly this has already run its course. Enough already.
Indeed. Count on MR to run a sensational story about a trivial threat. After all, gotta get those ad impressions!
It'll have run its course when Apple fixes the problem. You should not expect or want any less.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
lincolntran Avatar
88 months ago
Because Apple always claims that their "closed" system is more secure than those others due to the review process?

Frankly, I don't understand why some people on this forum keep downplaying these security flaws. Perhaps they think they need to "defend" Apple, but that is misguided IMO. The "fappening" made it very obvious that Apple doesn't necessarily act to improve their security policies without public pressure. If that hadn't happended, we'd probably still have the weak iCloud security policy and incomplete 2-factor authentication. Public attention can only help to make the system more secure for everyone by forcing Apple to act.

While this is a legitimate issue, it's not specific to ONLY iOS. It is a phishing trick than any software can run in to on any system. If Apple fixes this, i'm impress since this is still and issue on every other system. You still get warning emails from your IT guys for not clicking on strange links, dont you? You can't fix stupid (ignore warnings) or greed (free apps).

I think people who are defending Apple is trying to get this point across. there're multitude of apple haters that are trying to make this an iOS issue only hence the need to counter their point. Beside , there's nothing wrong with defending a product/brand than you like, not that they need defending.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sparkhill Avatar
88 months ago
Adobe Photoshop? Microsoft Office for OS X? Are these gold standards available on the Mac App Store?

I don't think so...and to install them you have to break security code and change your settings, and allow untrusted installs...

Oh no! Apple doesn't want you installing these evil programs. They want you to use only Pixelmator and Pages...

Right...

Masquerade Attack is an iOS exploit and you are referring to OS X apps. Two different operating systems with two different App Stores.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

nothing ear 1 buds 1

Nothing 'Ear (1)' True Wireless Earbuds Launch to Take on AirPods Pro With ANC and Unusual Design for $99

Tuesday July 27, 2021 7:57 am PDT by
Nothing, a new brand from OnePlus founder Carl Pei, has today officially launched the "Ear (1)" true wireless earbuds after months of anticipation around the company's AirPods Pro rival. The Ear (1) features an in-ear design, Active Noise Cancelation, Bluetooth 5.2, IPX4 water resistance, and a charging case with Qi-compatible wireless charging and a USB-C port. Fast pairing is supported on...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 With Fix for Touch ID Apple Watch Bug

Monday July 26, 2021 9:48 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1, minor bug fix updates that come just a week after the release of iOS 14.7, software that introduced new Apple Card features and support for the MagSafe Battery Pack. The iOS and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates can be downloaded for free and the software is available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the new software, go to...
iPad mini pro feature 2

iPad Mini 6 to Feature 8.3-Inch Display With No Home Button and Narrower Bezels

Monday July 26, 2021 12:26 pm PDT by
The sixth-generation iPad mini that's in the works will have an 8.3-inch display, according to display analyst Ross Young. That will be larger than the current 7.9-inch display, with the larger size due to the removal of the Home button and a narrower bezel design. Rumors about the iPad mini 6 have been picking up in recent weeks ahead of its prospective launch this fall. Apple analyst...
iphone 12 pro gold

Report: iPhone 14 Pro Models to Feature Tough Titanium Alloy Chassis

Monday July 26, 2021 1:12 am PDT by
Next year's "iPhone 14" series is expected to feature high-end models with a new titanium alloy chassis design, claims a new investors report by JP Morgan Chase. According to the report, the use of titanium alloy will be one of the biggest changes to the case design in the 2022 iPhone series, and Foxconn will be the exclusive manufacturer of the titanium frames for the high-end models....
iOS 15 General Feature Purple

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 4: Safari Tweaks, MagSafe Battery Pack Support, Notification Updates and More

Tuesday July 27, 2021 11:47 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth betas of iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, introducing additional refinements to the new features that are coming in the software updates. In these betas, Apple has introduced changes for Safari, Notifications, Focus mode, and more. Safari Updates Apple is continuing to refine the design of Safari on the iPhone, and in iOS 15, there are tweaks to improve usability. ...
apple mac business page

Apple Shares 11 Reasons Why Business Users Should Choose Macs

Monday July 26, 2021 11:35 am PDT by
Apple today updated its Apple at Work website with a new section dedicated to the Mac, which offers up 11 reasons why "Mac means business." On the webpage, Apple highlights the M1 chip as the number one reason why business users should choose a Mac, offering up an M1 overview [PDF] that explains the benefits of the M1 chip. The information isn't new, but it does provide a look at all of...
imac with accessories

Larger Redesigned High-End iMac Rumored to Launch Next Year

Monday July 26, 2021 3:45 am PDT by
Apple's larger redesigned iMac will arrive sometime in 2022 rather than later this year, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." On Twitter, Dylandkt claimed that Apple's "high end iMac" is not expected to release in the fourth quarter of 2021 alongside Apple's "M1X Macs" – a reference to Apple's redesigned MacBook Pro models – because "Apple simply does not want their devices to...
General iOS 14

iOS 14.7.1 and macOS Big Sur 11.5.1 Patch Security Vulnerability That May Have Been Actively Exploited

Monday July 26, 2021 11:55 am PDT by
Apple today released unexpected iOS 14.7.1 and iPadOS 14.7.1 updates to the public, and according to a newly released support document, the software addresses a serious security vulnerability that may have been exploited in the wild. Apple says that an application may have been able to execute arbitrary code with kernel privileges due to a memory corruption issue. "Apple is aware of a report ...
apple bitcoin hack

Is Apple Really Buying Bitcoin?

Monday July 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
A large number of websites and posts on social media are stoking rumors that Apple has purchased $2.5 billion worth of bitcoin in the company's first move into cryptocurrency, but is there any validity to the claims? Many people are citing the fact that Apple was looking for a Business Development Manager with experience in alternative payments, including cryptocurrency, earlier this year as ...
new m1 chip

Tim Cook on Apple Deciding to Manufacture Components: 'We Ask Ourselves If We Can Do Something Better'

Tuesday July 27, 2021 3:04 pm PDT by
During today's earnings call for the third fiscal quarter of 2021 (second calendar quarter), Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked how Apple decides what components to purchase and what components to develop, and Cook said that Apple asks if it can be done better. We ask ourselves if we can do something better. If we can deliver a better product. If we can buy something in the market and it's great...