iPhone virus is a term used to describe malware that affects iPhone devices
iPhone virus is malware designed for iOS users. While some users are convinced that is no malware for OS and cannot exist, meanwhile, cyber criminals create actual malicious software for macOS and iOS. Indeed, the percent of malware is much lower than the one designed for Windows and Android. However, there is no doubt that the amount of malware directed to Apple users increased dramatically; thus, denial of the problem will not solve it.
|Name||iPhone virus||iPhone virus||iPhone virus||iPhone virus||iPhone virus|
Safari redirect viruses (Chrome redirect virus, Internet Explorer Redirect virus, Firefox Redirect virus);
Survey and tech support scams (“Win an iPhone X,” “The new iPhone X for $1,” etc.)
Browser hijackers (for eg. Search.stuckopoe.com);
|Distribution||Malicious websites, bundling||Bundling||Bundling, malicious websites||Phishing SMS, Phishing emails||Torrent sites, malicious attachments|
|Symptoms||Redirects to dubious websites, sponsored ads, etc.||Redirects to dubious and phishing websites, sponsored ads, etc.||Hijacked homepage and search engine, altered search results, advertising, redirecting||Excessive spying (reading messages and listen to audio files)||Encrypts documents and photos|
|Elimination||Close down browser and clear history and website data||Close down browser and clear history and website data||Close down browser and clear history and website data||Factory reset||Factory reset|
Despite Mac OS being favorited by many, it is far less popular than Windows OS. Therefore, the amount of malware created is also less. It is evident, that some people might assume Mac immunity of viruses simply because they have not encountered it before.
Mac and iOS users are convinced that their devices are immune to infections due to a few reasons:
- limited access to system files
- fragmented OS
- restricted permit for third-party apps
While it is possible to install certain third-party apps on macOS, it is not an option for iPhone devices. The company’s and users’ attitude that neither of their products needs additional protection may be perilous. The reality is suggesting another fact – both, macOS and iPhone, virus exists. Let us review the types of malware below. If you are wondering how to remove virus from iPhone, jump to the last paragraph of this post.
Apple products are targeted by potentially unwanted programs
Troublesome adware programs and scripts are one of the most prevalent PUP and Windows malware type. Cyber villains oriented at Apple production take inspiration from such trend as well. MacOs users may agree having spotted a suspicious Safari alert.
It warns about the device being occupied by a virus. Usually, such alert would also alarm them that their data is about to be stolen. Nonetheless, as common for all scams, it includes a fake Apple Support phone number. Note that Apple does not display such notifications in random messages nor displays a phone number.
Frustrating pop-ups is another common form of iPhone virus. Since they function via a web-script planted into the browser, they might bother you from time to time popping up or bother you every time you launch the browser. Some of them happen to be quite persistent as you need to shut down Safari by force.
Browser hijackers also exist for Apple users. One of the recent samples is search.stuckopoe.com hijacker. It pretends to be an ordinary search engine while it collects non-personal information and uses it for “service improvement” purposes.
While it displays pop-ups once in a while, the most negative aspect is related to its elimination.
When you enter the page with removal instructions, it offers to install the elimination tool called as Uninstaller.dmg file. The problem is that it is infected with macOS:Genleo-BQ adware. If you use a standard version of Safari on your iPhone, beware of such hijackers.
Different versions of iPhone scams
As Apple devices are highly valued, multiple scams started to flood the internet recently. The primary goal of crooks behind these scams is to make victims believe, that they are eligible for a gift from Apple – typically, the newest iPhone, iPad or other devices. Let's check what scammers are up to and dig into the description of each of the frauds.
“The new iPhone X for $1.” This scam offers users a free iPhone X. All they have to do is pay the delivery fee that costs $1. It seems like a great deal! However, it is obviously a fake and users will not get the promised device.
The message is designed to look legitimate as the logos and theme used looks just like the ones from Apple. However, after proceeding, users are redirected several times and are finally asked to fill in some personal details and agree to terms of service of the competition. What users do not realize is that they just subscribed to an expensive music service which costs $49.99 a month. Unless they manually decline the offer, their credit card will be charged monthly.
“Win an iPhone X.” Similarly to above-described scam, this fake message also promises users an iPhone X. Victims might fall into this trap easily, especially those who never encounter digital scams before. The price for this expensive gift is minimal – users merely have to pick the “correct” gift box.
Unsurprisingly, every guess made is always correct (nevertheless, each of the users does not know that and think that they are fortunate). Soon after “guessing correctly” users are congratulated and prompted to enter personal details, such as bank account details, name, phone number and similar data. This information might be used for such serious crimes like identity theft as you can never be sure who you are disclosing your personal data to.
Iphonewinstoday.com scam. Typically, adware is causing redirects to this website. Nonetheless, users are also asked to open the “correct” gift box which gives them a chance to win a brand new iPhone X. Not surprisingly, the gift box is correct again! Then, victims are led to a page where they are required to enter personal details. It is explained that the e-mail address will be used in case the “lucky guest” wins the prize. However, it is merely a trick to extort personal information and use it for illegal purposes, such as identity theft.
Additionally, the redirects to Iphonewinstoday.com might also promote other fake gifts, such as Samsung Galaxy phones, expensive gift vouchers and similar. Regardless of the prize, none of these false alerts should be trusted.
“You've Been Selected To Test iPhone 9.” is the newest scam which started spreading in March 2018. This hoax offers users a possibility of testing the newest – iPhone 9 – version of iPhone before it reaches public eyes. It is not surprising that any Apple supporter would be extremely excited about such opportunity. What is more, crooks suggest a change of obtaining 128GB iPhone X for free! All they have to do is merely participate in a short survey and answer few questions.
It is evident that questions asked are only there to create the illusion that participants are actually doing something in exchange for the gift. Soon after finishing the survey, victims are requested to enter their full name, address, email address and telephone number.
It is clear that Apple is not behind these messages and would never look for participants in such way. Thus, do not trust this fake pop-up if you encounter it.
Regardless which scam you encounter – never participate in it. Remember, when the deal sounds too good to be true – it usually is. All crooks want is your money or personal data. Thus, ignore these scams and uninstall adware causing these messages.
Pegasus malware practices an excessive spying on Apple users
This spying software is one of the best illustrating samples that Apple, especially iOS devices, can be infected with malware and, in fact, one of the most daunting. It has been spotted in August 2016. The malware is suspected to have been developed by an Israeli company NSO group which has been notoriously known for developing spyware.
The malware does not target random targets, but only selected users. They receive deceptive SMS messages with links. If clicked, they would download the spyware designed for non-jailbroken iPhone devices. It functions on the basis of three zero-day day vulnerabilities.
Once it gets activated fully, it would exert a complete surveillance on a user. It spies both, easily accessible and encrypted, messages as well as it can listen to audio files. Another problem is that it is capable of self-destructing if it does not connect to a remote Command and Control server for 60 days. The malware developers also designed an Android counterpart of Pegasus malware.
Due to the elaborate behavior and structure, it is quite troublesome to detect this malware. It does not reveal any of its presence signs in the Activity Monitor, let alone iPhone devices which do not have such tool. You will need to download additional programs for detection and perform certain steps. More information on Pegasus removal is provided here.
Ransomware might be implemented into iOS too
As Android ransomware has become a common trend, one can assume that the time will come for iPhone devices as well. Such suspicions are not completely irrational as a few of Mac ransomware samples were already released into the cyber space. One of them pretends to be a tool called “Patcher” created for pirating software purposes. It is written with the Swift programming language.
The malware was distributed via BitTorrent domains. It operates similarly to Windows-based crypto-malware as it hides in a .zip folder. The malware was not properly programmed as it had “buggy” transparent looks and failed managing decryption keys, which eventually resulted in the loss of decryption possibility.
Unfortunately, it still encrypted users documents and photos. Though such malware samples have been found targeting Mac, iPhone users should become wary as well.
Prevent malware infections on your device
Different malware threats are distributed via different channels. Earlier discussed iPHone adware and hijackers are spread via web scripts. Since they are not visible for ordinary users, detecting them might be troublesome. On the other hand, you can limit the probability of such iPhone virus by avoiding to click on the links placed in the websites with gaming, gambling or other dubious content.
Regarding more elaborate malware, iPhone users may find this advice useful:
- Update system software once the update are released
- Do not download unnecessary third-party apps
Now let us discuss iPhone virus removal options.
Delete all threats which could damage your iPhone
If pop-ups plagued your phone, reset the browser. In the case of a tech support scam, exit the page. If you cannot cancel it, force a shutdown on a browser. In order to cease the redirect from activating itself again, go to Settings, tap on Safari icon and choose Clear History and Website Data.
Unfortunately, at the moment, iPhone devices do not accept anti-virus and malware elimination utilities, unlike macOS which approves Malwarebytes Anti Malware. If you notice unusual behavior in the phone, such as crashing apps or locked files, perform iPhone factory reset. Go to Settings, navigate to General, tap on Erase All Contents option.
You can remove iPhone automatically with a help of one of these programs: Reimage, Plumbytes Anti-MalwareWebroot SecureAnywhere AntiVirus, Malwarebytes Anti Malware. We recommend these applications because they can easily delete potentially unwanted programs and viruses with all their files and registry entries that are related to them.
Manual iPhone virus Removal Guide:
Erase iPhone from Mac OS X system
MacOS users have a certain advantage over iPHone users as they can install certain security apps to delete exquisite malware.
- If you are using OS X, click Go button at the top left of the screen and select Applications.
- Wait until you see Applications folder and look for iPhone or any other suspicious programs on it. Now right click on every of such entries and select Move to Trash.
Uninstall iPhone from Safari
Clear browsing data to cease the annoying iPhone virus pop-ups from appearing again.
- Remove dangerous extensions
Open Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu at the top left of the screen. Once you do this, select Preferences.
- Here, select Extensions and look for iPhone or other suspicious entries. Click on the Uninstall button to get rid each of them.
Change your homepage if it was altered by virus:
Open your Safari web browser and click on Safari in menu section. Here, select Preferences as it was displayed previously and select General.
- Here, look at the Homepage field. If it was altered by iPhone, remove unwanted link and enter the one that you want to use for your searches. Remember to include the "http://" before typing in the address of the page.
Open Safari browser and click on Safari in menu section at the top left of the screen. Here, select Reset Safari....
- Now you will see a detailed dialog window filled with reset options. All of those options are usually checked, but you can specify which of them you want to reset. Click the Reset button to complete iPhone removal process.