Apple products are known for the security they offer. However, with hefty malware like WannaCry hitting the world, it was only about time that the Macs faced it too, and so it has happened. Mac users are being warned about a new variety of malware, that has been created specifically to target Apple computers. This malware has two faces to it, one of a ransomware and the other of a spyware.
According to a report on BBC, the malware represents a threat because the creators were allowing anyone to use them for free. For the ones who don’t know, a ransomware encrypts data and demands payments against releasing files. A spyware, on the other hand, watches every move of a user, scooping up information what seems valuable to the ‘spy’.
Two malware programs were discovered by security firms Fortinet and AlienVault, where they found a portal on the Tor “dark web” network that acted as a shopfront for both. In a blog post, the security firm Fortinet wrote that the creators behind it were professional software engineers with “extensive experience” of creating working code. In fact, the free Macspy spyware, offered via the same creators, can log which keys are pressed, take screenshots and tap into a machine’s microphone. ALSO READ: Thailand Clickfarm bust: 3 men caught with 474 iPhones, 10 computers and 347,200 SIM cards
The creators of the malware also urged people to get in touch with them who wished to use either of the programs. They asked people to provide details of how they wanted the malware to be set up. The malware’s creators had said that payments made by ransomware victims would be split between themselves and their customers.
The researchers at Fortinet got in touch with the ransomware writers pretending to be one of those interested in using the product and, soon afterwards, were sent a sample of the malware. Their analysis revealed that it used much less sophisticated encryption than the many variants seen targeting Windows machines. ALSO READ: 5 essential things to do when your smartphone gets misplaced or stolen
However, the researcher found that the malware program was such that any files scrambled with the ransomware would be completely lost because it did a very poor job of handling the decryption keys needed to restore data. ”Even if it is far inferior to most current ransomware targeting Windows, it doesn’t fail to encrypt victim’s files or prevent access to important files, thereby causing real damage,” wrote the researchers.
Looking at statistics by MacAfee, there are now about 450,000 malicious programs aimed at Macs – far fewer than the 23 million targeting Windows users.