There's a new kind of spyware going around called Xsser that's reportedly targeting protestors in Hong Kong. The spyware — which appears to have ties to Android malware discovered last week — is installed via a Debian package and requires a victim's iPhone or iPad to be jailbroken. Breaking the root jail of iOS can provide for functionality beyond what Apple currently ships, but also strips away Apple's built-in iOS security. The same way jailbroken software can be loaded, malicious software can be loaded. (Same goes with bypassing Android's default security settings, as well as when you open up a phone to root access.) So what's going on with Xsser and how can you protect yourself?
Reuters has a quasi-report up that mislabels Xsser as a virus, doesn't link back to its source, and neglects to mention that only jailbroken iOS devices seem to be vulnerable, but does provide the following overview:
Lacoon itself is more thorough:
If you think you're at risk from Xsser, until more is known about how it is being spread, removing your jailbreak by upgrading or restoring to an official version of iOS is the best way to protect yourself.
Nick Arnott contributed to this article.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.