Technology

Thursday Buzz: Apple's Biggest Malware Threat Ever

By / Nov 6, 2014 (iStock Editorial/Thinkstock)

Mac and iOS users get wind of the first major malware threat ever to face Apple’s platforms. Also: lessons from a social media conflict involving Smucker’s.

The bad news, for both iOS and Mac users? There’s a potentially damaging form of malware on the platforms, and it’s out in the wild.

The slightly better news? At this point, it’s limited in reach to the Chinese market.

On Wednesday, the security company Palo Alto Networks released a research paper on a piece of malware called WireLurker, which attacks iOS devices connected to an infected Mac computer’s USB port. It’s the first major piece of malware to be reported on either of Apple’s major operating systems, one that Palo Alto describes as “the biggest in scale we have ever seen.”

The malware, distributed through a third-party Mac app store in China, can snoop on users’ iMessages and steal their address books, among other things. And unlike previous threats to the iOS platform, it can affect non-jailbroken phones, making the threat particularly serious to typical users.

In comments on the malware threat to The New York Times, Apple said it was on top of the issue and offered advice on how users can protect themselves.

“We are aware of malicious software available from a download site aimed at users in China, and we’ve blocked the identified apps to prevent them from launching,” a spokesperson said. “As always, we recommend that users download and install software from trusted sources.”

More Bitter Than Sweet

Careful going too heavy with the ban-hammer. The Smucker’s Facebook page is proving to be ground zero for political commentary these days—mostly due to Tuesday’s GMO-labeling ballot initiatives, which the company opposed. The company’s decision to delete posts critical of its political stance is causing major controversy.

How could they have handled the situation better?

Reaching out to a panel of social experts, the consensus at CMS Wire is that Smuckers would have been better off actively monitoring and responding to negative comments, rather than deleting them.

“A company should never consider deleting comments off of their own Facebook page unless the comments are violations of terms of service, illegal, or threatening,” said one such expert, Levick’s Peter Lamotte. “If a company is at the point of having to delete comments, they have already missed the opportunity to get ahead of the issue.”

“If consumers are asking tough questions on social media—and they inevitably will, especially if you have a successful presence—it’s best to have some answers for them,” said another, BFG’s Matt Holliday.

What’s your take on social management in situations such as these? (ht @cmswire)

Other notable Links

Good news for Office users: Microsoft has expanded the functionality of is iPad app and is now offering a free-to-use iPhone version, too. The New York Times explains why that’s such a huge shift for the company.

Getting something on the front page of Reddit isn’t easy. This blog post by Todd W. Schneider of Genius breaks down exactly how it works.

Over at SocialFish, Maddie Grant highlights Centscere, a startup that ties nonprofit donations to social actions.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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