U.S. Government Warns iOS Users About 'Masque Attack' Vulnerability

The United States government today issued a bulletin warning iPhone and iPad users about the recent "Masque Attack" vulnerability, a security flaw that first surfaced on Monday of this week, reports Reuters. Masque Attack is a vulnerability that can allow malicious third-party iOS apps to masquerade as legitimate apps via iOS enterprise provision profiles.

Written by the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center and the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Teams, the bulletin outlines how Masque Attack spreads -- luring users to install an untrusted app through a phishing link -- and what a malicious app is capable of doing.

An app installed on an iOS device using this technique may:
-Mimic the original app's login interface to steal the victim's login credentials.
-Access sensitive data from local data caches.
-Perform background monitoring of the user's device.
-Gain root privileges to the iOS device.
-Be indistinguishable from a genuine app.

The post also advises iOS users to protect themselves by avoiding apps that have been installed from sources other than the App Store or an organization they're affiliated with, avoiding tapping "Install" on third-party pop-ups when viewing web pages, and tapping "Don't Trust" on any iOS app that shows an "Untrusted App Developer Alert."

Masque Attack in action

Computer security alerts issued by the government are fairly rare, and only 13 have been sent over the course of 2014. Other vulnerabilities that have prompted alerts include Heartbleed and an SSL 3.0 flaw called "Poodle."

FireEye, the team that discovered Masque Attack, has notified Apple about the vulnerability, but it has not been patched in the recent iOS 8.1.1 beta thus far. It also affects iOS 7.1.1, 7.1.2, 8.0, and 8.1, and as of today, Apple has not yet commented on Masque Attack.

Masque Attack, along with WireLurker, another vulnerability outlined earlier this month, is unlikely to affect the average iOS user so long as Apple's security features are not bypassed. Masque Attack works by circumventing the iOS App Store to install apps, while WireLurker is similar, infecting machines via third-party software downloaded outside of the Mac App Store.

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

spectrumfox Avatar
121 months ago
"iOS Enterprise Certificates".

Then it isn't a security flaw. I love how this Apple-centric site fails to mention that you actually have to install the certificate. This is blown way out of proportion!
If the US government is putting out an official warning, then it's not being blown out of proportion.

Stop apologizing for Apple. This is exactly how these situations come about in the first place: Too many people excusing Apple for problems with their software instead of pressing them to fix the problems.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
shenan1982 Avatar
121 months ago
"iOS Enterprise Certificates".

Then it isn't a security flaw. I love how this Apple-centric site fails to mention that you actually have to install the certificate. This is blown way out of proportion!

Sadly a large part of the iPhone user base will click ACCEPT to anything that pops up, without even reading it. It's what America has become... we don't read, then we complain we've been scammed.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Rogifan Avatar
121 months ago
So basically they're just telling people don't be stupid.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SolarShane Avatar
121 months ago
"iOS Enterprise Certificates".

Then it isn't a security flaw. I love how this Apple-centric site fails to mention that you actually have to install the certificate. This is blown way out of proportion!
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KdParker Avatar
121 months ago
So - You only want apps that you get from the app store.

Don't apps have to be from the app store unless your phone is jailbroken?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
spectrumfox Avatar
121 months ago
As much as trivial and "common sense"ish this may seem, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this type of warning. I don't understand the hate for it. If the US government released a warning about "please lock your doors at night.." will people be fundamentally against that also?

We have a lot warning labels on cars, on machines, on prescription drugs..this is no different.

Having the US government comment on the security of an Apple product negates the idea that Apple products are infallible. And apparently that upsets some people.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

10 New Things Your iPhone Can Do in Next Week's iOS 17.4 Update

Friday March 1, 2024 1:30 am PST by
Apple will this month release iOS 17.4, its biggest iPhone software update of the year so far, featuring a number of features and changes that users have been anticipating for quite a while. Below, we've listed 10 new things that your iPhone will be able to do after you've installed the update, which is projected to arrive by March 7. When the day arrives, be sure to check Settings ➝...
Apple Maps vs Google Maps Feature

Apple Maps vs. Google Maps: Which Is Better?

Friday March 1, 2024 7:10 am PST by
Apple Maps has been providing navigational guidance to Apple users for almost 13 and a half years now, and much has changed about the app in that time. However, according to data from Canalys, the overwhelming majority of iPhones in the U.S. still have Google Maps downloaded as an alternative to Apple Maps, which comes preinstalled on all iPhones. We want to hear from MacRumors readers. Which do...
apple tv plus banner

Apple TV+ Gains Over 50 Movies for a Limited Time

Friday March 1, 2024 6:29 am PST by
Apple TV+ today gained over 50 movies, adding to its back catalog of content for a limited time. The collection includes a large number of popular and classic titles. Subscribers can access the movies in a "Great Movies on Apple TV+" section in the Apple TV app. Some titles are also available in 3D. Movies in the collection include: 21 Jump Street 300 American Sniper Argo ...
airpods pro 2 pink

Apple Releases New Beta Firmware for AirPods Pro 2

Thursday February 29, 2024 11:41 am PST by
Apple today introduced a new beta firmware update for the AirPods Pro 2, both the USB-C and Lightning versions. The new firmware is version 6E188, up from the prior 6B34 firmware released in December. Apple does not often provide details or notes on what features might be included in the refreshed firmware, so it is unclear what's new. Note that this software is limited to developers at the...
iOS 18 Mock Feature Baubles

Will Your iPhone Support iOS 18? Here's What the Latest Rumor Says

Thursday February 29, 2024 7:29 am PST by
iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 are still over three months away from being unveiled, but we may already know which devices will be compatible with the updates. iOS 18 will be compatible with the same iPhone models as iOS 17, meaning that the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR from 2018 will remain supported for at least another year, according to information shared this week by a source with a...
maxresdefault

Apple Spent More Than $10 Billion on Apple Car Before Canceling Project

Wednesday February 28, 2024 5:13 pm PST by
Apple spent more than $10 billion working on the Apple Car over the last decade, according to a report from The New York Times that details the issues the project faced during development. Apple first launched the project in 2014 and let it flounder for more than a decade before calling it off earlier this week. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Money was spent on...