Apple’s Chinese app store hit by malware

Apple’s airtight security was breached on Monday by malicious programmes which manipulated and damaged hundreds of apps used by millions of people in China, its second biggest market. The company acknowledged the raid and and said it had removed the infected apps from its online store. The attack, which challenged Apple’s credibility, came in the midst of booming pre-orders for its latest iPhone6S. The US giant swung into action fighting hackers after several cyber security companies reported finding a malicious programme dubbed XcodeGhost that had sneaked into hundreds of legitimate apps.

The attack may also hurt users of Apple products and apps outside China because some of the affected apps, including the business card scanner CamCard, are also available outside China. Vast quantities of personal data of users in China may have been stolen by hackers as the infected apps opened up their data vaults to the attackers who diverted the information to servers they control, cyber experts said.

User names and passwords of a large number of people may have been stolen as the malicious programme also managed to read and alter information in compromised devices’ clipboards, industry sources said. China has over 100 million users of Apple products and a large number of these may have been affected.

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