By Sarah Rovinsky
The problem originated in China, when program XcodeGhost hit hundreds–possibly thousands–of Apple iOS apps used throughout the globe. The infamous hackers targeted the App Store through a counterfeit version of the Xcode “toolkit,” the software used to build apps to run on its iOS operating system. The hackers could send commands to infected devices asking for personal information from users. The counterfeit version was widely used by Chinese developers because it downloaded faster.
China, the world’s second largest economy has average internet speeds more than three times slower than those in the U.S., according to online content delivery firm Akami’s latest State of the Internet report. Regardless of the slow internet connections, government censorship and various other impediments facing those in China, many app developers and security experts said the tech firms themselves bare most of the responsibility for the attack, which affected mostly Chinese users. The Apple store had previously been almost entirely free of malware and it’s unclear how the altered code withstood Apple’s famously tough app approval process.