We look at our phones an average of 52 times a day and for a lot of people, it’s even more than that. Because cell phones have become such a critical part of our daily lives, we store a lot of personal and private information on them.
Unfortunately, that makes them the perfect target for hackers who seek to gain access to that information and use it to their own advantage. The main tactic they would employ to get this information is by infecting your cell phone with malware.
What is iPhone malware?
There are many different types of malware available for iPhones. Some require the hacker to install it onto your device, whilst others exploit vulnerabilities in existing (and completely legitimate) apps that you already use regularly. Let’s take a look at these different types now:
1. Spy apps
Spy apps are commercially available tools that allow someone to remotely monitor an iPhone – sometimes costing as little as $30. These are both easily accessible and simple to use, requiring very little technical knowledge and physical access to the device. They can be installed onto most phones in just 2 minutes.
This means that just about anyone can potentially be a hacker if they have the desire to do so. These spy apps are commonly used by spouses to spy on their other halves in order to read their messages, track their GPS location and listen in on phone calls.
Once this type of malware has been installed onto the device, it is almost impossible to detect as they can be made invisible and can remain completely hidden from the victim.
That is unless you scan your iPhone with a malware detection tool such as Certo AntiSpy.
2. Rogue Enterprise apps
If a hacker is unable to install a spy app on their victim’s iPhone then they may use a rogue Enterprise app. The Enterprise app program is meant for businesses who want to develop bespoke in-house apps and distribute them internally. However, they appeal to hackers because Enterprise apps do not need to pass Apple’s strict App Store review process and can therefore be used to distribute malware.
This method is much easier to deploy onto a victim’s iPhone compared to a spy app, but the hacker would need to trick the victim into installing the app onto their device. This is usually carried out using some form of social engineering, with the hacker posing as someone else with a legitimate reason for the victim to install their app. You can learn more about this type of hack here.
3. Exploiting existing apps
Some more organized and high-level hackers are now developing exploits for specific existing apps that are installed on most people’s iPhones and used regularly. An example of this is the recent WhatsApp hack that exposed a weakness in the app’s file sharing features. Another example is a vulnerability that was discovered in the Apple Mail app which was used to hack iPhones.
Both of which allowed hackers to remotely spy on their victim’s iPhones. It’s easy to see just how dangerous malware like this can be given how widely used these two apps are.
4. Zero Day malware
The most elite hackers are constantly looking for ways to exploit devices and apps for their own gain. Zero Day malware is the most advanced type of hacking and requires intricate knowledge of how these systems work.
These new threats are based on discovering new weaknesses and exploiting them on a mass scale before the developer can realize what is even happening and long before they can fix the problem – which is why they are given the name ‘Zero-day’ exploits.
Once these threats become public knowledge, developers and cyber-security companies can usually reverse-engineer the malware so that it can be detected and prevented.
Does anti-malware for iPhone exist?
If you’re looking for an anti-malware app on Apple’s App Store then you’re out of luck.
There are several “security” apps currently available on the App Store. However, whilst these solutions can do some checks and look for signs of hacking – they can only do so much and cannot fully scan the device for threats. This is because Apple doesn’t allow security apps to access the deeper file system on an iPhone – where most malware hides.
This makes it impossible for these apps to provide a TRUE anti-malware solution.
How to detect malware on an iPhone
You’ll be pleased to know however, that there is a solution. Here at Certo, we’ve developed a tool that will allow iPhone users to quickly and easily perform thorough scans of their device and uncover data-stealing malware.
Certo AntiSpy can detect the following:
- Jailbreaking (a method that hackers use to bypass Apple’s security and install spy apps).
- Malware installed on your device.
- GPS location tracking apps (including legitimate apps that you didn’t know were tracking you).
Scans of your device can be performed in under 2 minutes and this tool is extremely easy to use – simply plug your phone into your computer, load the software and follow the on-screen instructions.
How to remove malware from an iPhone
Once you’ve detected any malware on your device, it’s time to remove it. Since security apps cannot access the file system on an iOS device, you will have to do this manually using one of the following methods:
- Update your phone to the latest firmware. This will completely remove any jailbreak access and as a result, will deny access to any spy apps installed on the iPhone.
- Perform a factory reset. This will ensure that any enterprise apps, spy apps or exploited existing apps are removed from your device and are no longer potentially tracking and downloading your personal, private information.
- Revert to an earlier backup. This is a good option if you are already fully up to date with Apple’s firmware and you don’t want to factory reset your device. Hopefully, you will be able to revert to a backup from before the malware was installed onto your device.