Security researchers have discovered that certain models of iOS devices that have been “jailbroken” are now being targeted in a malware attack, dubbed “unflod”, that can collect the AppleID account login and password used on that device and transmit it to hacker-controlled servers. While jailbreaking iPhones or iPads isn’t likely to be something the majority of iOS device-users will do (primarily because it voids your warranty), a significant percentage of users (2% in early 2013, or nearly 7 million devices) regularly jailbreak their devices. Even if the actual count of phones vulnerable to this threat is somewhere less than 7 million, it’s still a big enough target for identity thieves.
What this means for you:
If your iOS device isn’t jailbroken, you don’t have to worry about the unflod malware attack. If you have an iPhone 5s, iPad Air, or iPad Mini 2G, you don’t have to worry about this particular attack either, even if the device is jailbroken, as the malware currently in use doesn’t work on 64-bit operating systems, of which the aforementioned devices use. The unflod malware appears to be caught through application of certain system tweaks that can only be applied to jailbroken, 32-bit OS devices, and only then if the tweaks are sideloaded outside of Apple’s own official app store, or Cydia, the “unofficial official” app store for jailbroken devices. In other words, if most of the words in the article don’t make sense to you, you probably won’t be affected by this malware.
HOWEVER, if you’ve ever considered jailbreaking your iOS device for whatever reason, let the above serve as a cautionary tale: be sure you know what you are doing, back up your important device data, and seriously consider whether you really need a jailbroken iPhone. While the above malware attack requires a specific set of circumstances that only affect a very small percentage of users, jailbreaking a device should only be done by someone willing to take on an increased risk of security breaches and with a full understanding of troubleshooting your own device issues.