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.

Cloud

Windows Executable Masks Mac Malware

A new strain of MacOS malware hides inside a Windows executable to avoid detection.

A new strain of MacOS malware disguises itself as a Windows executable file to evade detection and embed itself on a system. But the malware authors aren't exactly in the cross-platform avant-garde: the .EXE file that carries the MacOS malware will not, in fact, execute on a Windows machine.

Welcome to the malware rabbit hole.

Researchers from Trend Micro discovered the malware inside the installer for a popular firewall and network monitor called Little Snitch. Inside the standard MacOS .DMG installer is a .EXE file that is part of the mono framework — technology that's used to allow .NET applications to run across multiple platforms, including MacOS.

The application that begins execution scans the host system for a variety of machine and environment information and sends the data to a C&C server. It then downloads potentially unwanted applications (PUAs) that include adware camouflaged as Adobe Flash and a copy of Little Snitch that might, in itself, be compromised.

Malware authors typically use higher-level executables, like Adobe Flash files, JavaScript, or PHP to move between platforms. Most of those file types are now scanned by malware protection software and blocked if malicious behavior is detected.

Because .EXE files will not on their own execute on MacOS, MacOS anti-malware packages don't typically scan or block them. This attack is aimed squarely at Macs: The .EXE file used to deliver the malware payload returns an error message if someone tries to run it on a Windows system.

According to the researchers, this particular implementation of the new technique is likely a research project on the part of malware authors. "We think that the cybercriminals are still studying the development and opportunities from this malware bundled in apps and available in torrent sites, and therefore we will continue investigating how cybercriminals can use this information and routine," they wrote in their post on the findings.

As for how to avoid this attack, some anti-malware packages are beginning to pick up and scan these .EXE files for malicious intent. If your organization doesn't have such software, then be sure that multi-layer security is in place and remind users to only download applications from fully vetted and verified sources.

 

 

Join Dark Reading LIVE for two cybersecurity summits at Interop 2019. Learn from the industry's most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the Interop agenda here.

Related Content:

Curtis Franklin Jr. is Senior Editor at Dark Reading. In this role he focuses on product and technology coverage for the publication. In addition he works on audio and video programming for Dark Reading and contributes to activities at Interop ITX, Black Hat, INsecurity, and ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-0488
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
In pb_write of pb_encode.c, there is a possible out of bounds write due to a missing bounds check. This could lead to local escalation of privilege with System execution privileges needed. User interaction is not needed for exploitation.Product: AndroidVersions: Android kernelAndroid ID: A-178754781
CVE-2021-27129
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
CASAP Automated Enrollment System version 1.0 contains a cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability through the Students > Edit > ROUTE parameter.
CVE-2021-27544
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Cross Site Scripting (XSS) in the "add-services.php" component of PHPGurukul Beauty Parlour Management System v1.0 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code by injecting arbitrary HTML into the "sername" parameter.
CVE-2021-27545
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
SQL Injection in the "add-services.php" component of PHPGurukul Beauty Parlour Management System v1.0 allows remote attackers to obtain sensitive database information by injecting SQL commands into the "sername" parameter.
CVE-2020-7270
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Exposure of Sensitive Information in the web interface in McAfee Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) prior to 4.12.2 allows remote authenticated users to view sensitive unencrypted information via a carefully crafted HTTP request parameter. The risk is partially mitigated if your ATD instances are deploye...