US government warns on bug in Apple's iOS software

A Chinese woman presents her iPhone 6 in front of an Apple store in Shanghai on Oct 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Chinese woman presents her iPhone 6 in front of an Apple store in Shanghai on Oct 17, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US government warned iPhone and iPad users on Thursday to be on the alert for hackers who may exploit a vulnerability in Apple Inc's iOS operating system that would enable them to steal sensitive data.

There was the potential for hacks using a newly identified technique known as the "Masque Attack," the government said in an online bulletin from the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Centre and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Teams.

The network security company FireEye disclosed the vulnerability behind the "Masque Attack" earlier this week, saying it had been exploited to launch a campaign dubbed "WireLurker" and that more attacks could follow.

Hackers could potentially steal login credentials, access sensitive data stored on iOS devices and remotely monitor activity on those devices, the government said.

Such attacks could be avoided if iPad and iPhone users only installed apps from Apple's App Store or from their own organisations, it said.

Users should not click "Install" from pop-ups when surfing the web. If iOS flashes a warning that says "Untrusted App Developer," users should click on "Don't Trust" and immediately uninstall the app, the bulletin said.

Representatives of Apple could not immediately be reached for comment.