Apple is tightening its App Store security after detecting the first major malware attack on the online store.
The attack was confirmed by the technology company after various security firms detected an infected version of its developer tools, which caused several Chinese apps to leak the personal information of its users.
Apple has reported that the hackers were able to embed the malicious code, identified as “XcodeGhost” into the tainted apps by convincing developers that it was the correct version of Apple’s software Xcode.
This tainted software then remained undetected during Apple’s app review process.
Apple uses its Xcode software for creating apps for iOS and Mac devices.
Before this attack, Apple had only detected a surprisingly low total of five malicious apps on its App Store.
Speaking about the clean-up process, a spokeswoman from Apple said: “We’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software.
“We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.”
Intelligence specialists have said this particular tainted code had limited functionality, yet developers are fast becoming big targets for attacks of this nature.
Now that Apple’s software outlet has been penetrated by hackers, concerns are now growing about the potential of a more serious breach in the future.
Apple has not yet revealed the exact number of apps that were infected, but one Chinese security firm said it had discovered 344 apps carrying XcodeGhost.
However, the company said an initial investigation showed no signs of any data theft or a release of personal user information.
Researchers have revealed that affected apps include communication platform WeChat and Didi Kuaidi.