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iPad Owners Targeted By Trojan Virus

April 28, 2010

Email messages notifying Apple iPad users of a new iTunes software update are fake, and can actually open up a remote access point for cyber criminals when downloaded, according to a warning from Romanian-based security firm BitDefender.

However, the Windows PCs of iPad users are the devices being targeted, not the iPads themselves, according to Claudine Beaumont, Technology Editor for the UK paper The Telegraph.

The emails are received via PC, and according to what BitDefender told the AFP news agency on Tuesday, the email redirects users to a “realistic-looking website that supposedly provides the latest version of the iTunes online shop but instead installs malicious code on visitors’ machines.”

The file that is downloaded to the Windows-based machine is a Trojan virus which can allow hackers to steal email account and IM login information and other vital passwords, while also making it possible for third parties to use the device to send spam emails to other users.

“The trick is pretty simple,” Catalin Cosoi, a senior researcher for BitDefender, told Beaumont on Tuesday. “They’re clever to do it this way. If they were able to target Mac customers, it would have spread like wildfire, but because most antivirus companies detect this Trojan, it’s aimed at Windows users who have bought an iPad and who also don’t run a security product.”

“BitDefender has advised iPad owners not to click on any links that appear in dialog boxes or alerts, and to download iTunes directly from the Apple website,” Beaumont notes. “The company also emphasized that the iPad itself remained unaffected by the Trojan.”

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