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Hackers to ‘double down’ on iOS attacks

Attacks on Apple devices catching up with Android strikes.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Malware on iOS is about to become a serious problem as it reaches a maturation point akin to the situation on Android five years ago, according to mobile security company Lookout.

Attacks on "jailbroken" iPhones, configured to download apps from third party stores not controlled by Apple, are said to be gradually moving to the official downloads store, which could make the entire device much less safe.

Kevin Mahaffey, chief executive of Lookout, said: "Bad guys are rational economic actors. Because Android is so much more popular in the world they’re targeting the largest platforms first."

"[However] criminals are soon going to double down on [Apple’s] OS with targeted attacks."

Apple’s mobile operating system has long been perceived as being more secure than the Google equivalent because its app marketplace is tightly controlled by the iPhone maker, whilst the Android store is far looser in its rules.

On the Apple store humans manually check each app to see if it is malicious, blocking a great deal of bad apps, but according to Lookout those that slip through carry many of the same capabilities, including monetary theft, data stealing and a range of network based threats.

"It’s much more of a level playing field than is generally assumed," the company said.

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"Of course, the number of people actually affected by malware is significantly higher on android, but in terms of what malware can do when actually on the device, the groundwork has been laid for significant threats to emerge."

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