iPad users under attack from iTunes malware

Even before it hits the shelves of stores in the UK, owners of Apple's new iPad are under attack – this time from malware.

Updated: Anti-virus company BitDefender reports that it has discovered links to a 'backdoor' virus being sent to iPad users, disguised as an iTunes update.

The threat arrives in the form of an unsolicited email urging the recipient to download the latest version of iTunes to their PC before they synch it with updated iPad software, promising "best performance, newer features and security".

"A direct link to the download location is conveniently provided. As a proof of cyber crime finesse, the web page the users are directed to is a perfect imitation of the one they would use for legitimate iTunes software downloads," Sabina Datcu, a technology writer for BitDefender said today in a blog post, which reproduces the fake email.

A news release from the security firm outlined the threat: "Identified by BitDefender as Backdoor.Bifrose.AADY, the piece of malicious code inadvertently downloaded injects itself into the explorer.exe process and opens up a backdoor that allows unauthorised access to and control over the affected system.

"Backdoor.Bifrose.AADY attempts to read the keys and serial numbers of the various software installed on the affected computer, while also logging the passwords to the victim's ICQ, Messenger, POP3 mail accounts, and protected storage," the release added.

Those responsible for the malware are clearly intent on exploiting the current buzz surrounding Apple’s new tablet to hit iPad users who also have PCs. Early reports suggest Macintosh computers are unaffected by the dodgy 'update'.

Users are advised never to follow a link from an email to update software.