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.

Endpoint Security //

MacOS

2/21/2018
09:35 AM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
50%
50%

Coldroot RAT Sends Mac Antivirus Down a Maze

A new blog by a Digita Security researchers finds that Coldroot RAT, which specifically targets Mac and macOS users, is still eluding detection from different antivirus engines, even though it's available on GitHub.

Patrick Wardle, a researcher at Digita Security, has seemingly found a new version of the Remote Access Trojan (RAT) that was open sourced on GitHub in 2016. This RAT was remarkable since it was developed to target Apple's macOS, and is not detected to this day by antivirus engines.

Wardle describes on his blog how he tripped over the new version while looking at macOS's "privacy database" (TCC.db), which contains the list of applications that are afforded "accessibility" rights. Once in this database, a program can interact with system UIs, applications or even intercept key events -- i.e. keylogging.

Mac users may indirectly know of this database, since it was directly modified by initial versions of Dropbox without Dropbox ever telling the user it was doing so as it was supposed to. Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) responded by system protecting the database to rain on Dropbox's parade.

Anyway, Wardle found a 1.3MB file called com.apple.audio.driver2.app that referenced the TCC.db. The fact that this file was of non-Apple origin despite its title was very suspicious. The fact that the file was not signed by Apple was another nail in the coffin.

The blog outlines the technical steps he took -- using mostly open sourced software, too! -- to figure out what was hiding in that file.

When he was done, he found the Coldroot RAT looking back at him. It wasn't just the older Coldroot, but one improving over the older version. Someone had seemingly taken it and added capabilities. This version could spawn new remote desktop sessions as well as take screen captures to generate a live stream of the victim's desktop.

Not only that it can start and kill processes on the target's system, as well as search, download, upload and execute files.

The malware does need to show an alert to the user that it is making changes, but once it has been given the OK -- perhaps by a novice user -- it will act silently.


The fundamentals of network security are being redefined – don't get left in the dark by a DDoS attack! Join us in Austin from May 14-16 at the fifth annual Big Communications Event. There's still time to register and communications service providers get in free!

The malware will persist by launching itself as a daemon with root status when the system comes up. And while the RAT tries to sneak itself into TCC.db, the effort will fail on newer versions of macOS thanks to Dropbox having previously forced Apple's hand on the file.

So, there is a publicly available RAT targeting macOS that has been upgraded with additional functionality. Running the fake driver name through VirusTotal as of this writing shows that only the ESET tool warns of it. All others give it a pass.

Users will need to be aware of this bogus driver and steer clear from it or anything that references it. AV engines do not yet understand the hidden RAT that possibly lies within their Macs.

Related posts:

— Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
When It Comes To Security Tools, More Isn't More
Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  1/11/2021
US Capitol Attack a Wake-up Call for the Integration of Physical & IT Security
Seth Rosenblatt, Contributing Writer,  1/11/2021
IoT Vendor Ubiquiti Suffers Data Breach
Dark Reading Staff 1/11/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-3113
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-17
Netsia SEBA+ through 0.16.1 build 70-e669dcd7 allows remote attackers to discover session cookies via a direct /session/list/allActiveSession request. For example, the attacker can discover the admin's cookie if the admin account happens to be logged in when the allActiveSession request occurs, and ...
CVE-2020-25533
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
An issue was discovered in Malwarebytes before 4.0 on macOS. A malicious application was able to perform a privileged action within the Malwarebytes launch daemon. The privileged service improperly validated XPC connections by relying on the PID instead of the audit token. An attacker can construct ...
CVE-2021-3162
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
Docker Desktop Community before 2.5.0.0 on macOS mishandles certificate checking, leading to local privilege escalation.
CVE-2021-21242
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
OneDev is an all-in-one devops platform. In OneDev before version 4.0.3, there is a critical vulnerability which can lead to pre-auth remote code execution. AttachmentUploadServlet deserializes untrusted data from the `Attachment-Support` header. This Servlet does not enforce any authentication or a...
CVE-2021-21245
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-15
OneDev is an all-in-one devops platform. In OneDev before version 4.0.3, AttachmentUploadServlet also saves user controlled data (`request.getInputStream()`) to a user specified location (`request.getHeader("File-Name")`). This issue may lead to arbitrary file upload which can be used to u...