Apple has confirmed that it will notify all users who installed iOS apps containing the XcodeGhost malware. The malicious code is thought to have made its way into more than 340 apps, affecting over 500 million iOS users.
Although this is by far the biggest security breach in the history of iOS, it’s thought that XcodeGhost wasn’t able to obtain a whole lot of data.
“We have no information to suggest that the malware has been used to do anything malicious or that this exploit would have delivered any personally identifiable information had it been used,” Apple explains in a new Q&A document published on its website for China.
“We’re not aware of personally identifiable customer data being impacted and the code also did not have the ability to request customer credentials to gain iCloud and other service passwords.”
Apple adds that as soon as XcodeGhost was discovered, the company made efforts to recognize affected apps and remove them from the App Store. It is also blocking new app submissions containing the malicious code, and working with developers to get affected apps updated.
“Customers will be receiving more information letting them know if they’ve downloaded an app/apps that could have been compromised,” Apple adds. “Once a developer updates their app, that will fix the issue on the user’s device once they apply that update.”
Although XcodeGhost could not steal personal information, Apple will be taking this very seriously, and will work to ensure similar breaches like this cannot happen again. Part of the problem is that its development tools are too slow to download in China.
As a result of this, developers based there were downloading Xcode from third-party sources, and many happened to obtain an infected version that injected XcodeGhost into iOS apps when they were compiled. Some of those infected were hugely popular titles like WeChat and Angry Birds 2.
Apple has now vowed to make it faster for developers in China to download the latest versions of Xcode.