Spyware app abused iOS enterprise certificate to track targets

Another application has abused the iOS business certificate to circumvent Apple App Store rules, security researchers in Lookout announced Monday. The application is called Assistenza SIM and could steal contacts, videos, photos and location data in real time from a user, as reported by TechCrunch . You could also touch people's phone calls remotely.

After the researchers contacted Apple, the company revoked the application's business certificate, which made it impossible to install it on an iOS device . The company certificate allowed the Assistenza application to bypass Apple certification and remain accessible for downloads through phishing sites outside the App Store.

An earlier version of the spyware application was discovered on Android last year. The Android version of the application had gained access to the phones of hundreds of victims, so that developers could read Wi-Fi passwords and user emails, as well as data from applications such as Facebook, Gmail, WhatsApp, Viber and WeChat. Lookout also contacted Google last year and worked together to eliminate Play Store applications.


spyware app abused ios enterprise certificate to track targets

Both Android and iOS applications were disguised as applications created by Italian and Turkmen mobile operators. The applications were intended to be telephone assistance applications that users could install to contact the operators. The real developer was actually Connexxa, a spyware manufacturer.

It is not the only application that has tried to take advantage of this gap. There is a whole world of illicit applications that use business certificates to fly under Apple's radar. They offer pirated content, pornography, gambling and all kinds of material that Apple would not normally allow according to the guidelines of the App Store.

Facebook, in particular, attracted Apple's attention when it began paying people to install a "Facebook Research" VPN, which siphones the user's phone and web data. It was found that Google was running a similar program and, in response, Apple briefly revoked the certificate used by Google and Facebook to push updates on their applications. Apple told Recode at the time that company certificates were intended "solely for the internal distribution of applications within an organization".

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