Posted on February 22, 2021 at 4:03 PM
The past few years have shown that Mac is not particularly resistant to malware, although it’s still better than Windows in that area.
But more threat actors are now lining up to try their luck on Mac. The popularity of the Apple M1 Silicon has made it a more interesting target for hackers.
Reports recently emerged that threat actors have designed two malware developed specifically for Mac. The second malware of the two carries potential destructive capabilities. The malware, codenamed Silver Marrow, has made security experts very alert due to its propensity of causing serious damage to systems.
The new malware is very deadly because of some reasons. Security researchers revealed that the malware’s speed of infection is particularly worrisome and fearful. According to the report, the malware has already infected about 30,000 Macs. Also, it targets M1 Macs by infecting x86 through translation only.
What’s more worrying is the fact that security researchers are still studying malware. It means that the malware could be carrying its devastating impact further while the researchers are still looking for answers regarding how to curtail its potency.
Malware considered dangerous
Presently, the only noticeable activity of the malware is checking of remote control server and downloading payload that does not exist.
The Red Canary security researchers hinted that the malware may be waiting to meet certain conditions before causing more devastating activities on Macs.
Ars Technica also confirmed that the malware delivers an unknown payload which self-destructs automatically after depositing the payload. It makes it more difficult to trade and offer a counter solution against the malware.
Now, there are multiple versions of this malware that target both Apple’s Intel chips and the new M1 chip.
The researchers stated that the malware has been discovered in more than 150 countries, but predominantly in Canada, the U.S., and European countries.
Malware poses serious threats to Macs
The Red Canary researchers said there’s no doubt that Silver Sparrow is a serious threat considering its attack nature and its sophistication.
The researchers stated that they have not fully observed the malware delivering additional malicious payloads.
However, the malware’s operational maturity, relatively high rate of infection, global reach, and forward-looking M1 chip compatibility make it very dangerous. The security researchers said they are sharing everything they know about the malware due to the serious threat it poses to all Mac systems in the world.
While Silver Sparrow is the second malware developed to run on an M1 chip, the first one is an adware sample. But Silver Sparrow is receiving more attention due to the malware’s potency and wider destructive reach.
The researchers also stated that the company has started working on something that can counteract the activities of the malware on Mac systems.
The way self-destructive capabilities also suggest the malware may be designed specifically for some deep cover operations that require avoiding detection at all costs.
Additionally, it utilizes Akamai and AWS for malware distribution, making it even more difficult to block source servers.
Silver Sparrow looks like a sleeper malware that can be easily activated without much harm caused to the host system.
However, the security researchers stated that the malware could be a disaster waiting to happen. But they do not have a clue how the malware can be stopped.
A week ago, Patrick Wardle, a security researcher at Objective-See research firm published a story about the first malware found targeting Apple Silicon.
Red Canary said Apple has revoked the software’s binaries. That means users are not at risk of accidentally installing the malware to the Mac system. But security researchers are still worried since they have discovered strains of the malware on Macs in the wild.