It seems as though the more technology continues to evolve, the more hackers try to infiltrate the software systems of consumers and companies alike – with new devices comes new cybercrimes. Some of the largest new targets for cyber criminals are mobile devices. Malicious actors are releasing new forms of malware that are geared toward targeting mobile devices in particular, according to a recent report from technology giant, Nokia. In fact, the research indicated that instances of mobile malware infections had increased by almost 96 percent in the first half of 2016 when compared to the second half of 2015.

While mobile malware is rampant across various devices around the world, there are more cases of malware present in smartphone technology. The same report by Nokia showed that 78 percent of mobile malware is installed on smartphones. Because malware has advanced so much recently, the term now includes anything that attempts to steal important personal information from your smartphone or wireless network to which you are connected (if the malware is designed to access your networks). A single smartphone that is infected with malware is capable of taking down an organization's entire internal network if the device is linked to it – especially if the company isn't prepared to respond to a cyber attack.

One of the most popular methods for hackers to infiltrate iPhones is to develop mobile applications with malicious codes hidden within them. That way, users download the infected apps that they find ready to download in app stores and give cyber criminals access to their personal information.

Don't be fooled by the Haima iOS Helper
The Haima app store for iOS is a third-party app store that has gained some traction for iPhones because it is incredibly easy to use, according to researchers from Trend Micro. The Haima store essentially repackages official mobile apps and makes it easier to incorporate accompanying advertising modules with them. That means that the app developers make more money.

The Haima app store is so successful in part because of an app known as the Haima iOS Helper. Not only does it simplify the installment of various apps on the iPhone, but it also helps tremendously with maintenance. Recently, however, cyber security threat defense experts discovered that the Haima iOS Helper app contained malicious code in it that allows viruses to steal information from iPhone users. In fact, one of the function of the malware is to steal the Apple ID of the infected iPhone's user. While your Apple ID may not seem like much compared to your credit card information or social security number, any personal information that is stolen from you is dangerous. Researchers from Trend Micro believe the app poses a threat to overall iPhone security:

"[The Haima helper app] introduces serious security risks," read their report. "The apparent theft of the user's Apple ID credentials is a serious risk in and of itself. The apparent inclusion of malicious functions in the code itself is also worrying."

The recommendation in this kind of situation is to steer clear of third-party app stores – like the Haima iOS Helper – because the security risk of downloading an app from such a store simply aren't outweighed by the potential rewards.

Stick to Apple's App Store
The only consistent criticism of the App Store is that it usually takes longer for an app to be approved (and be made available for purchase or download) compared to other app stores. But that is because people are reviewing the app submissions. That's right: Human beings are checking to make sure there is no malware embedded in the apps before they are made available to the general public. And that is good news for mobile apps downloaded from Apple's App Store – only a few of the millions of apps contain malware, according to MakeUseOf. Additionally, if there is a new app or one with few reviews, it is generally a good idea to avoid it, unless you have done your due diligence. 

At MC Services, we are experts in helping enterprises work smarter. From hands-on Apple support and training to custom programming, our certified IT consultants have the technical skills and knowledge to support your growing business's IT department. To learn more, contact us today.