Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/26/2010
01:34 PM
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Apple iPad Used As Scam Bait

Cybercriminals are sending out malicious e-mail that targets iPad users, a sure sign that the device has been selling well.

Apple's continuing success as a company is encouraging more cybercriminals to try to exploit the popularity of the company's products to distribute malware.

The latest such scam involves spam e-mail messages addressed to iPad users. The messages direct recipients -- who may or may not be iPad users -- to click on a Web link that appears to host an iTunes update and to install the update.

The text isn't so poorly written as to be farcical. Even so, the use of the passive voice in the first sentence and the awkward wording suggests that the note's author doesn't work as a marketing professional at Apple or anywhere else.

"There were released updates for software installed on your iPad device," the message begins. "It is very important to keep the software on your iPad updated for best performance, newer features and security."

Recipients who happen to open this message on a Windows PC and comply with "update" instructions do not actually receive an update.

"Unfortunately for these users, following the malicious link means opening up a direct line to their sensitive data as instead of the promised iTunes update they get malware on their systems," said Sabina Datcu, security researcher for BitDefender, in a blog post.

BidDefender identifies the malicious code as Backdoor.Bifrose.AADY, which attempts to infect Internet Explorer to open a back door in the victim's system. It's designed to scour infected systems for software serial numbers and to capture login and password information.

Mac users, not to mention those reading their e-mail on their iPads, don't have to worry about this particularly malware.

In reporting its fiscal second quarter results last week, Apple did not disclose the number of iPads it had sold, but company executives said they were happy with iPad sales.

Apple previously said it had sold 300,000 iPads on April 3, the day it began selling the devices and delivering them to customers who had pre-ordered.

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