According to recent reports as many as 4,000 applications were infected by the XcodeGhost malware.

The news came as Apple said it was going to make its Xcode program easier to download in China, which is where the malware originates from. The tool is used to be able to build applications compatible with its operating system.

AppleApplication developers are not blocked from downloading the official version of Xcode, however censorship controls make using services outside of china a painful process. Some Chinese firms have said that the slow download speeds led them to seek locally held bootlegged versions of the code, which at the time they did not know were infected with malware.

“In the US it only needs 25 minutes to download. China may take three times as long,” Mr Schiller told Sina.cn.

Previously the App Store had been almost entirely free of malware and it is unclear on how the altered code withstood the app approval process.

“These reviews are legendary for how particular Apple is,” said Robert Walker, founder of mobile dating app Cuddli, who worked for Microsoft in China. “Supposedly, a security review is part of that. But they missed this repeatedly over dozens of different applications. A huge mistake on their part.”

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