iOS security warning: One-click fraud attacks have started

In the last couple of days, a new security threat has arisen for iOS devices, iPhones and iPads.

You may heard of ‘one-click fraud’, which has affected Windows and more recently Android systems. Well it has now come to iOS too.

The sequence is straightforward, and any user paying attention to what is going on should not fall for the scam. However, as we often use iPhones and iPads on occasions when we are not as attentive as we need to be, this has been catching some users out, mainly in Japan so far.

The first mistake is to browse to a website which is taking part in the scam. So far these have been porn sites, but they could in future be less obvious vectors of malware, possibly even an innocent site which has been hijacked for the purpose.

On the site are movies (typically), and you then click on one to view it. You are next informed that you have to download a player app in order to view the movie.

Normally iOS would not allow you to install an app from a site other than the iTunes App Store. However in this case the scammers are using Apple’s Enterprise deployment system, which allows such app installations. However you are first warned that the app is being delivered from an untrusted source, and can stop the process at that stage (if you are paying attention).

If you bypass that warning and go on to download the app, it then extorts money from you. So far no more extensive or serious consequences have resulted, but again that may change in the future.

I hope the lessons are obvious.