Spyware for iPhones comes in various forms from easy to install consumer products such as FlexiSpy and mSpy to more advanced spyware that takes advantage of weaknesses in Apple’s enterprise certificates such as YiSpector and The Hacking Team.
Most spyware gives the attacker access to email messages, SMS, phone calls, GPS location and many more. Understandably, iPhone and iPad owners want to protect themselves from these types of spyware, but it’s difficult to find an anti-virus or anti-spyware app on the App Store.
Apple’s Restrictive Guidelines
According to 9to5Mac.com, earlier this year Apple removed a large number of “anti-virus” apps from its App Store. Apple did not release an official statement on a policy change, although it is likely that these apps were pulled due to misrepresentation. Apple’s developer guidelines state that: “Apps that read or write data outside its designated container area will be rejected”, meaning that any anti-virus or anti-spyware app existing on the App Store would not be able to scan other apps or files on the device, making these apps fairly useless.
Failed Anti-Virus Apps
Anti-virus and anti-spyware apps that did exist on the App Store did not scan or protect the device in the same way as desktop anti-virus products, but instead most worked by scanning incoming email messages for malicious attachments. However, it is almost impossible to “hack” an iPhone by sending it an email message and most iPhone spyware and viruses require physical access to the device in order for it to be installed. Also, if you had installed one of these apps after the device was initially hacked then it’s unlikely to detect any viruses or spyware.
At Certo, we have developed a way to scan your iPhone for viruses and spyware by analysing a backup of the device created with iTunes. An iTunes backup contains a complete copy of your device and Certo AntiSpy can interrogate the backup to determine if the device has been hacked.