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Apple App Store hit by huge malware attack

Apple gadgets have always had a reputation for being very secure out of the box. In fact, up until a few years ago, it didn't recommend that its Mac users run security software. Then its products got more popular and everything changed.

Hackers started to take a good long look at Apple and found security flaws to exploit. However, even with Macs suddenly in need of security software, Apple's tight controls has kept its iPhone and iPad fairly safe. In fact, there have only ever been five malicious apps found in the Apple App Store ... until now.

Over the weekend, Apple had to remove hundreds of legitimate apps from the store because they contained hidden malicious code called XcodeGhost. Security researches say it doesn't look like XcodeGhost could actually do much, but the fact that it got in, and how it got in, is worrying.

Any developers writing apps for Apple products have to use a program called Xcode. It turns out that a lot of app developers got tired of waiting to download it from Apple's servers, and downloaded a copy from servers in China.

The copy from China, however, had been tweaked to insert malicious code into any app created with it. However, because they were legitimate developers, and they had created their app with "Xcode," the apps were able to get into the store.

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