Sci-tech

Mac Malware Caught Spying on Computer Users

Mac Malware Caught Spying on Computer Users”

The malware relies on functions that were retired long ago and uses a crude method to remain installed once a Mac is infected. An attacker can even remotely kill the malicious program's process entirely to avoid the possibility of being detected by a suspicious victim. "Its features had looked like they were actions that would support interactivity: it had the ability to alert the attacker when users were active on the computer, it could simulate mouse clicks and keyboard events". As demonstrated by the backup servers, the Macs remained susceptible to spying by anyone who took the time to register one of the hardcoded domains.

Armed with his Python-based command and control scripts, he registered some domains, and fired up his servers.

"I thought - 'f**k!' - I have to be responsible here", he said. In the meantime you can read the full ZDNet article here. "I just logged the connections and parsed the computer names, then closed the connection", he said.

Ninety percent of the users that connected to the C&C servers were located in the United States, and most were individual users rather than groups such as companies or research firms as the early reports had indicated.

But questions remain over where the malware came from, and what goal it performs. Instead, he believed the malware was the work of a single hacker using the malicious tool to spy on people. Compared to newer, more sophisticated malware, Fruitfly is much easier to detect.

Wardle also discovered in his exploration of the malware that it is still present and active on infected computers.

It has infected almost 400 victims, mostly in the USA - though there could be more infections out there - and Wardle has shared his findings with law enforcement.

One of the interesting aspects of the latest Fruitfly variant is that it flew under the radar for so long. "This is just another illustration that Macs are just as vulnerable as any other computer". Malwarebytes was alerted to it by a system admin who discovered it when he noticed unusual outgoing network traffic. "Most don't even look for this kind of activity".

Through his command and control server, Wardle was able to uncover the capabilities of Fruitfly by making requests of the malware and seeing how it would respond, giving him unprecedented access to the malware.

Wardle is scheduled to speak about the malware at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Zack Whittaker can be reached securely on Signal and WhatsApp at 646-755-8849, and his PGP fingerprint for email is: 4D0E 92F2 E36A EC51 DAAE 5D97 CB8C 15FA EB6C EEA5.



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