If you've come across reminders and events randomly popping up in the Calendar app on your iPhone, you're not alone. This is a common problem for many iPhone users where the user unknowingly subscribes to a third-party calendar service. This, in turn, leads to the fact that the calendar is clogged with spammy events. Fortunately, this is easy to solve. Find out what a calendar virus is, how to remove it from your iPhone, and how to stop it.
Where does spam come from in the iPhone calendar?
As a rule, the answer to the question “Can iPhones get viruses?” is “No”, but this, although rare, can still happen (most often as a result of a hack). The so-called “calendar virus” is the latest hacker innovation that hits your iPhone.
It is enough for attackers to find out the mail used for the user's calendar entries, and they can easily bombard the owner's gadgets with messages about promotions, sales, winnings, and lotteries. It is impossible to directly harm the gadget using an invitation through the calendar, but it is quite possible to force the victim to accidentally or intentionally click on the link in the invitation.
Apple is partly to blame for this, as the company allows anyone, including people not in your contacts, to send calendar invitations to your iPhone. Although Cupertinians limit the possible number of requests sent from one calendar account, no one prevents attackers from using several accounts and attacking them one by one.
Because the user doesn't expect spam links in the Calendar app, they can click the link in the event, which (most likely) will lead them to a phishing page. These pages may contain hacking scripts and malware that may compromise your personal information.
Spam mailings in the calendar
The problem is that spammers simply collect a database of email addresses and then bulk send users an invitation to an event. Even if the recipient rejects it, the sender sees that the account is active and continues to terrorize it.
However, this is not all. Another type of spam has recently appeared in the form of pop-up notifications on sites in Safari that offer to add an event to the calendar. It turned out to be more effective than mailing lists because users most often click “OK” without reading what they are offered.
“Apple really needs to do something about this. Just found out that spam in the calendar, it turns out, is also distributed through sites in Safari. On one of the resources, I came across such a notification with a proposal to add an event to which I almost agreed”, one of the users wrote on Twitter.
How this happens is not very clear. Most likely, a special script is simply built into the site that recognizes an Apple device and prompts it to add an event to the calendar. As soon as the user agrees, spam events appear in the calendar, which is not so easy to get rid of.
How to get rid of calendar spam
Cupertino is well aware of this problem, but they still cannot come up with an effective way to protect against spam without disabling the convenient feature with general invitations. Instead, they offer to simply unsubscribe from fake or unnecessary calendar events.
The annoyance that malicious calendar subscriptions cause among Apple users has grown so much that the company has even posted a video tutorial on its YouTube channel on how to unsubscribe from these unwanted events and stop getting junk ads.
But, unfortunately, manually refusing incoming invitations is ineffective. This will let the attackers know that the email address they are attacking is real. With a high degree of probability, spam will increase after that.
This should be done in a complex of measures. Here are more efficient and effective ways to deal with iPhone calendar spam.
1. Delete spam events using the Calendar app on iPhone
- Open the Calendar app on your iPhone. You will see all events, including spam;
- On the main page, click the Calendars button at the bottom. A list will appear with all calendars synced to your iPhone;
- Find the spam color and click the “i” button next to it;
- Scroll down and click Delete Calendar to remove all spam events from your iPhone.
If you see spam calendar events with more than one color, follow the steps for those colors.
2. Remove calendar virus in iPhone settings
If you keep getting spam events on your iPhone, you may need to unsubscribe from those events in your iPhone settings. Here's how to do it:
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll down and select Calendar.
- Then select Accounts and click Subscription Calendars.
4. Select a calendar to which you are not subscribed and click Delete Account.
How to stop iPhone calendar spam
1. Report spam events as unwanted
If you mark a calendar invitation as junk, Apple will receive a spam event notification. After that, Apple will block the display of events on your iPhone and on the iPhones of other users. For this:
- Sign in to iCloud.com on your Apple device.
- Go to Calendar, select a Spam event and click on Report as spam.
2. Disable popups in Safari
More often than not, these spam events reach your iPhone via Safari. These hackers use dubious pop-ups to get the user to click on them and then send spam events to your iPhone. Disabling pop-ups in Safari minimizes this issue.
- Go to Settings on iPhone.
- Select Safari.
- Turn on Block pop-ups if you haven't already.
3. Using a privacy-focused DNS server on iPhone
Using a privacy-focused DNS server on your iPhone will not only protect you from Calendar viruses but other malware as well.
WARP Cloudflare is one such DNS service that monitors for malware and viruses on the internet and prevents them from reaching your iPhone. To set up your own DNS on your iPhone:
- Go to Settings and select Wi-Fi.
- Click your Wi-Fi network name.
- Scroll down, select Configure DNS and change the configuration from ”Automatic” to “Manual”
- Click Add Server and enter the DNS address (22.214.171.124 in case of Cloudflare's DNS address).
By applying all the above recommendations, you can get rid of spam in the Calendar on your iPhone and protect yourself from such attacks in the future.