Victims targeted through wireless networks or USB connections.
Hackers are exploiting Apple iOS, replacing real apps with malicious fakes according to the security company FireEye.
Victims are said to be tricked into installing the software which is sent through USB or wireless networks and presented as genuine. This affects both regular and jailbroken versions of Apple’s mobile OS, the latter being configured so apps can be installed bypassing the official e-store.
Hui Xue, Tao Wei, and Yulong Zhang, security researchers from FireEye, said: "In one of our experiments, we used an in-house app with a bundle identifier "com.google.Gmail" that is named ‘A Funny Game’.
"We signed this app using an enterprise certificate. When we installed this app from a website, it replaced the original Gmail app on the phone."
These so-called masque attacks allow hackers to steal login credentials through phishing-esque techniques, reading the cache of the app that has been replaced, and setting up background monitoring on the victim’s phone.
WireLurker malware was also found to be using the exploit to infect users, which is thought by the to be the first virus capable of installing third-party software on phones that have not been jailbroken, according to security firm Palo Alto networks
"We disclosed this vulnerability to Apple in July," the FireEye researchers said. "Because all the existing standard protections or interfaces by Apple cannot prevent such an attack, we have asked Apple to provide more powerful interfaces to protect enterprise users from these and other advanced attacks."
The researchers added that Apple customers can protected themselves through avoiding third-party app stores and other download pages.