Security Market Segment LS
Monday, 22 February 2021 10:35

Mac malware for new and old machines found, payload a mystery Featured

By
Mac malware for new and old machines found, payload a mystery Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Researchers at security outfit Red Canary say they have discovered Mac malware that also has a version aimed at the new M1 machines – but are not clear on what it does or what the vector of infection is.

Detection engineers Wes Hurd and Jason Killam said in a security brief that the new malware, which was named Silver Sparrow, differed from traditional Mac adware in two ways: it used JavaScript for execution and had a related binary compiled for the M1 architecture.

The first native malware aimed at the M1 platform was found by well-known Mac security expert Patrick Wardle recently.

But despite ascertaining that Silver Sparrow was present on 29,139 machines in 153 countries — including big numbers in the US, the UK, Canada, France and Germany — the Red Canary duo said they were yet to observe the delivery of any malicious payloads.

"Yet, its forward-looking M1 chip compatibility, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity suggest Silver Sparrow is a reasonably serious threat, uniquely positioned to deliver a potentially impactful payload at a moment’s notice," they wrote.

Hurd and Killam said they had found two versions of the malware: one which was only an Intel x86_64 binary, while the second contained binaries both x86_64 and the M1 ARM64 platform; all files were in the PKG format.

The duo detailed the make-up and operation of the malware in their brief but there were many grey areas to which they admitted.

"...we aren’t certain of the initial distribution method for the PKG files," they said. "We suspect that malicious search engine results direct victims to download the PKGs based on network connections from a victim’s browser shortly before download. In this case, we can’t be certain because we don’t have the visibility to determine exactly what caused the download.

"Next, we don’t know the circumstances under which ~/Library/._insu appears. This file may be part of a toolset the adversary wishes to avoid; it may be part of the malware’s life cycle itself as a way of removing components after an objective has been met.

"In addition, the ultimate goal of this malware is a mystery. We have no way of knowing with certainty what payload would be distributed by the malware, if a payload has already been delivered and removed, or if the adversary has a future timeline for distribution.

"Based on data shared with us by Malwarebytes, the nearly 30,000 affected hosts have not downloaded what would be the next or final payload."

Silver Sparrow uses AWS S3 as a host while callback for the cluster leverages domains hosted through the Akamai content delivery network, meaning that it has chosen extremely reliable infrastructure.


Subscribe to ITWIRE UPDATE Newsletter here

GRAND OPENING OF THE ITWIRE SHOP

The much awaited iTWire Shop is now open to our readers.

Visit the iTWire Shop, a leading destination for stylish accessories, gear & gadgets, lifestyle products and everyday portable office essentials, drones, zoom lenses for smartphones, software and online training.

PLUS Big Brands include: Apple, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, Sennheiser and many more.

Products available for any country.

We hope you enjoy and find value in the much anticipated iTWire Shop.

ENTER THE SHOP NOW!

INTRODUCING ITWIRE TV

iTWire TV offers a unique value to the Tech Sector by providing a range of video interviews, news, views and reviews, and also provides the opportunity for vendors to promote your company and your marketing messages.

We work with you to develop the message and conduct the interview or product review in a safe and collaborative way. Unlike other Tech YouTube channels, we create a story around your message and post that on the homepage of ITWire, linking to your message.

In addition, your interview post message can be displayed in up to 7 different post displays on our the iTWire.com site to drive traffic and readers to your video content and downloads. This can be a significant Lead Generation opportunity for your business.

We also provide 3 videos in one recording/sitting if you require so that you have a series of videos to promote to your customers. Your sales team can add your emails to sales collateral and to the footer of their sales and marketing emails.

See the latest in Tech News, Views, Interviews, Reviews, Product Promos and Events. Plus funny videos from our readers and customers.

SEE WHAT'S ON ITWIRE TV NOW!

BACK TO HOME PAGE
Sam Varghese

Web Analytics

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

Share News tips for the iTWire Journalists? Your tip will be anonymous

WEBINARS ONLINE & ON-DEMAND

GUEST ARTICLES

VENDOR NEWS

Guest Opinion

Guest Interviews

Guest Reviews

Guest Research

Guest Research & Case Studies

Channel News

Comments