A vulnerability has been found in the Windows version of iTunes and iCloud, which may allow ransomware to be inserted into Windows computers, bypassing antivirus security programs.
Mac versions are not affected.
Bonjour software exploited
The Bonjour component that both iTunes and iCloud uses, is meant to allow communication between devices on your network and is often used to allow Windows to communicate with Apple devices.
A bug has been found (by security company Morphisec) in Bonjour, called a ‘zero day vulnerability’ which in geek-speak, is an ‘unquoted service path’ – essentially code which has been written incorrectly. As iTunes and iCloud are classed as trusted programs, the vulnerability can avoid antivirus security software and install ransomware software, which can potentially encrypt hard drives and prevent you accessing your data.
Get your iTunes and iCloud update patches
Apple has now patched the vulnerability in iTunes 12.10.1 and iCloud 7.14, so grab your updates if you haven’t already and ensure that automatic updates are enabled, to provide maximum benefit from security fixes in the future – especially as other vulnerabilies were found at the same time, which are yet to be resolved.
Uninstalled iTunes? You can still be vulnerable
Even if you have previously uninstalled iTunes, the Bonjour software is probably still present on your system, as it is a separate program and is not automatically uninstalled when iTunes is removed.
If Bonjour is still on your system it may be still have background services running but in a potentially unpatched state, so you would need to go to your Control Panel and remove it manually.