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
84 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
84 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
84 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
84 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
84 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
84 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

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
Top Stories 56 Feature

Top Stories: 'Find My' Expansion, iPhone 13 Pro Mockup, Largest-Ever iMac?

Saturday April 10, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
Apple's AirTags may still be nowhere to be seen nearly two years after signs of them were first discovered, but Apple this week launched its Find My network accessory program that will let third-party devices integrate with the Find My app on Apple's platforms to make it easy to keep track of your items. This week also saw fresh rumors about the upcoming "iPhone 13" and new iMacs, while...
fortnite apple featured

Epic's Case Against Apple in Australia Might Be Over

Friday April 9, 2021 12:21 pm PDT by
Epic Games and Apple are involved in a highly public lawsuit in the United States, but Epic has also sued Apple in other countries, including Australia, in an attempt to boost its chances of getting a favorable ruling. Things aren't quite going Epic's way, however, as the justice overseeing the case today decided that he's going to let the two companies battle it out in the United States. ...
Apple TV Ray Light Teal Film

Apple Wants to Draw Subscribers to Apple TV+ With More Feature Films

Friday April 9, 2021 10:27 am PDT by
Apple is ramping up its efforts to produce feature films, according to a new report from The Information. Apple has a limited number of high profile films already, including "Palmer," "Cherry," and "Greyhound," and sees it as a way to draw more people into Apple TV+. Apple has been telling studio executives that it is aiming to do more than 10 to 12 original movies per year for Apple TV+,...