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November 18, 2014

WireLurker trio arrested in Beijing

Alleged virus creators found after tip off from Chinese security firm.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Police have arrested three people in Beijing on suspicion of being behind the WireLurker virus currently targeting Apple and Microsoft products.

Officials were tipped off about the trio by the Chinese security company Qihoo 360 Technology, and have only been identified by their surnames Lee, Wang, and Chen.

WireLurker was discovered by the security company Palo Alto earlier this month, and is notable for its ability to infect iPhones that have not been configured to accept third-party apps (or "jailbroken") through USB connections to Mac computers.

467 malware-laden OS X apps were discovered by the firm on the Chinese app store Maiyadi, having notched up 356,000 downloads, with the virus mostly affecting Chinese people.

Speaking to Business Insider after the report’s release, an Apple spokesman said: "We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching."

In its report, Palo Alto warned that it had yet to establish the full functionality of the virus, noting that the malware was collecting a large amount of information about the systems it infected. A later update from the firm revealed it was also targeting Windows.

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