Threat Research

No, the iPad is NOT hacked

By Axelle Apvrille | May 03, 2010

ipadAs I'm specializing in mobile malware, lately I really could not miss the bunch of articles concerning an alleged iPad virus. It's just everywhere, with titles such as "iPad attacked by virus", "early iPad virus strikes users", "iPad hardly out and already hacked", "First virus for the iPad", "iPad suffers virus attack" or pictures of an iPad with the words "iPad virus". So scary.

The problem with all those titles is that ... there is NO iPad virus at all. This is all about a Windows virus that lures iPad owners into executing a malware on their PC and having it owned. In this story, the iPad is NOT compromised. I will not get into the details of the virus, but in short, it is a backdoor of the W32/Bifrose family. It infects the Explorer process of Windows PCs, and gets various information from the host (passwords to mail, ICQ etc).

Rather, here, I intend to protest against the titles that were used. We authors all love to use catchy headlines because we know they attract readers. Why not. I am not against nice titles at all, but they must not be misleading. A title such as "The Windows Bifrose Backdoor Strikes Back" would have been closer to truth (and not so ugly).

On the contrary, titles such as the ones I mentioned at the beginning of this post basically convey an idea opposite to their content (yes, fortunately, most articles do get it right in the end and say the virus attacks Windows). In a world filled with short messages (RSS feeds, tweets, SMS, slogans, video clips...), I fear a bad title is harmful enough. I am pretty sure most of the community will only remember one thing: the iPad has been hacked... Too bad (and I'm not from Apple).

Let's hope my title "No, the iPad is NOT hacked" is catchy enough for many readers to be aware of the issue. ;)

-- the Crypto Girl

P.S. Don't you ever try the same with my favorite operating system, OpenSolaris!

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