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Beware GoldDigger: How the iOS Trojan Steals Facial Recognition Data and Bank Info

Cybersecurity researchers have sounded fresh alarms over a crafty new piece of iOS malware dubbed “GoldDigger.” This invasive trojan leverages insidious tactics to steal sensitive personal information that can enable identity theft and drained bank accounts.

Specifically, GoldDigger targets iOS users’ facial recognition data, identification documents, text messages, and more. Unfortunately, once compromised by GoldDigger, victims can have their entire digital lives ransacked and misused in devastating ways before they even realize anything is wrong..

GoldDigger Distributed Via iOS MDM Profiles

According to threat analysts, most GoldDigger infections occur via infected MDM (mobile device management) profiles.

MDM profiles help large organizations or employers configure and control managed iOS devices used by personnel. However, the deep permissions these profiles grant also make them an ideal malware delivery mechanism.

By packaging GoldDigger code within bogus MDM profiles from seemingly legitimate organizations, hackers easily bypass iOS defenses to achieve remote device access once a victim installs the file.

iPhone Pro Max

Stealing Facial Recognition Data to Enable Deepfake Identity Theft

After embedding itself on an iPhone or iPad via an infected MDM profile, GoldDigger first begins harvesting facial recognition data stored within the device photo library and camera history.

Unfortunately, this biometric data trove provides the raw materials for identity thieves to manufacture so-called “deepfakes” – convincing synthetic media that depicts the victim appearing to say or do things they never actually did.

These deepfakes enable a wide array of criminal schemes, from cyberbullying to financial fraud. And the victim may have no idea until damage is already done.

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Gaining Access to Bank Accounts and Financial Accounts

In addition to biometric data theft, GoldDigger also spends its time rummaging through an infected device for login credentials, bank account details, social security numbers, and anything else that could prove financially valuable.

With enough background information in hand combined with deepfake media for identity verification, the hackers controlling the GoldDigger botnet can gain access to victim bank accounts and more to drain funds or run up fraudulent charges in the victim’s name.

Given how silently this malware operates behind the scenes as a remote control bot, victims sadly often don’t detect any suspicious account activity for months until the financial damage is already done.

How to Protect Your iPhone or iPad from the GoldDigger Trojan

While GoldDigger presents a nightmare scenario for iOS device security, there are a few key precautions users should take to minimize infection risk:

  • Only install apps from the official App Store – This provides critical safety screening.
  • Avoid sideloading untrusted profiles or apps – A common infection vector.
  • Update devices constantly – Patches fix security flaws malware exploits.
  • Use strong passcodes – Keeps contents encrypted if device lost/stolen.
  • Limit shared personal info – Public details aid identity theft schemes.

Staying vigilant around iOS security best practices makes the difference in keeping financial data, online accounts, and personal identity safe in the face of threats like the GoldDigger trojan.

 

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