A new smart phone virus is spreading across mobile networks causing users phones to post personal photos and text messages online. However, new reports have indicated that the virus also has the capability to infect the individual using the device. According to researchers at Palo Alto ComTech, the “iCu” virus affects your iPhone and iPad device simply by opening an iMessage.
Hundreds of thousands of iPhone users have already been infected according to researchers. The “iCu” text message virus struck iPhone users in China and parts of Russia this past weekend spreading across all mobile networks. Officials believe the virus originated in Beijing. The “iCu” virus revolves around infecting iOS devices which secretly collects call logs, phone book contacts, photos and text messages. Once the virus attacks these elements of the iPhone, the virus sends out mass text messages to every available number in the phone book. The message is sent from the user’s iPhone and is received as originating from the recipient to the uninfected device. The virus sends a message reading, “Hi” and once the user responds, the virus replies with “iCu”. Once the virus detects the user has read the message, the iPhone becomes instantly infected.
“Once the “iCu” virus infects the iPhone, it copies all phone data, including photos and text messages to an anonymous server which then uploads to various websites. The virus also send all text messages and photos to everyone in the infected iPhone’s phone book,” according to researchers at Palo Alto ComTech. Further reports reveal that a few thousand people have displayed signs of being ill after their phone was infected.
According to medical officials at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, “iPhone users with infected devices have symptoms of epilepsy after reading the infect “iCu” text message. We have admitted over 1100 people over the weekend as a result of the iPhone virus. We are monitoring systems and advising patients and staff with iPhones to turn off their data until we gather more information.” Researchers are attempting to work with Apple to find a quick resolution for the issue until permanent fix is available.
For now, researches advise all iPhone users to do the following to avoid infection:
-Keep the iOS version on your device up-to-date
-Do not open any text message from unknown users or any messages containing “iCu”
-Turn off Read Receipts
-Do not pair your iOS device with untrusted or unknown computers
-Avoid powering your iOS device through untrusted chargers or unofficial Apple Products
-Avoid jailbreaking your iPhone however if you do, only use credible Cydia community sources
Apple has not released an official statement regarding the issue.