Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

4/7/2017
07:20 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Apple Mac OS Malware Spiked in Q4

Malware samples sharply increased for Mac OS devices in Q4 2016 as threat actors expand their targets outside Windows PCs, new McAfee report says.

Mac OS malware increased by 247% in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to a new report by McAfee Labs.

The dramatic increase in Apple Mac OS malware samples went from 50,000 in Q3 2016 to about 320,000 in Q4.  

McAfee Labs VP Vincent Weafer says the increase can be partially attributed to hackers setting their sights beyond Windows targets. More people are using multi-platform environments in their homes and businesses, he explains, and attackers are taking advantage.

"The more that happens, the more hackers will ensure their attacks work on various systems," he says. "It's a natural extension of how they look at the market and their victims."

Cybercriminals are expanding their campaigns onto other platforms, going from Windows to Mac OS, iOS, and Android. While PCs remain the target of choice for large attack campaigns, the report shows that they are using the same types of attacks on a smaller scale for different platforms.

"No platform is immune to attackers," Weafer  says. "Attackers are taking the time to make their threats multi-platform."

The biggest driver behind the 247% growth in Mac OS malware was OSX/Bundlore, Weafer says. Bundlore is an installer that combines legitimate apps with offers for third-party apps users may not want. These third-party apps are usually installed by default but may present an "opt-out" option following installation.

Much of the Mac OS malware variants follow patterns similar to malware on PCs. Attackers are going after credentials, banking information, and access into organizations. They're using misleading applications, remote access programs, info stealers, and ransomware, which saw a large expansion onto Mac platforms last year as well, he says.

Weafer notes the dramatic growth is related to the relatively small number of Mac devices. There are hundreds of thousands of new instances of Mac OS malware, but there are tens of millions on the PC side.

"In general, you see more spikes when you have lower numbers," he notes. The Q4 spike in Mac OS malware peaked at about 320,000, which equates to about 1.3% of the Windows volume.

The higher numbers from Q4 will likely go down, Weafer continues. This dramatic spike is short-term but malware is increasing overall, year-over-year, with more attacks on Macs, PCs, Android, and iOS.

Malware will continue to increase as the IoT grows and more devices, including cameras and drones, enter the mix. "We're living in a multi-platform, cloud environment and we need to think about the security of all these systems," he emphasizes.

The Mac OS malware spike doesn't mean Mac-heavy businesses should be rethinking their strategies, Weafer continues. Basic security principles are still key and standard precautions should be in place: implementing security software, paying attention to app updates, knowing where data is located, and protecting it with strong and unique passwords.

McAfee's report also includes insight on Mirai, the botnet that exploited poorly secured IoT devices in October 2016 to launch the largest-ever DDoS attack. In the six months since then, Mirai has infected about 2.5 million IoT devices, McAfee discovered. About five IP addresses are added to Mirai botnets every minute.

Researchers also discussed drivers behind the rise in intelligence-sharing. In general, businesses have been working individually as attackers use open collaboration sharing. Now they are trying to talk and share intelligence as they solve problems.

Related Content:

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 10/23/2020
7 Tips for Choosing Security Metrics That Matter
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/19/2020
Russian Military Officers Unmasked, Indicted for High-Profile Cyberattack Campaigns
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  10/19/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-24847
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
A Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability is identified in FruityWifi through 2.4. Due to a lack of CSRF protection in page_config_adv.php, an unauthenticated attacker can lure the victim to visit his website by social engineering or another attack vector. Due to this issue, an unauthenticat...
CVE-2020-24848
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
FruityWifi through 2.4 has an unsafe Sudo configuration [(ALL : ALL) NOPASSWD: ALL]. This allows an attacker to perform a system-level (root) local privilege escalation, allowing an attacker to gain complete persistent access to the local system.
CVE-2020-5990
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
NVIDIA GeForce Experience, all versions prior to 3.20.5.70, contains a vulnerability in the ShadowPlay component which may lead to local privilege escalation, code execution, denial of service or information disclosure.
CVE-2020-25483
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
An arbitrary command execution vulnerability exists in the fopen() function of file writes of UCMS v1.4.8, where an attacker can gain access to the server.
CVE-2020-5977
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-23
NVIDIA GeForce Experience, all versions prior to 3.20.5.70, contains a vulnerability in NVIDIA Web Helper NodeJS Web Server in which an uncontrolled search path is used to load a node module, which may lead to code execution, denial of service, escalation of privileges, and information disclosure.