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Atomic Stealer Gets an Upgrade - Targeting Mac Users with Encrypted Payload

Atomic Stealer Gets an Upgrade - Targeting Mac Users with Encrypted Payload
Jan 11, 2024 Malvertising / Cyber Attacks
Cybersecurity researchers have identified an updated version of a macOS information stealer called  Atomic  (or AMOS), indicating that the threat actors behind the malware are actively enhancing its capabilities. "It looks like Atomic Stealer was updated around mid to late December 2023, where its developers introduced payload encryption in an effort to bypass detection rules," Malwarebytes' Jérôme Segura  said  in a Wednesday report. Atomic Stealer  first emerged  in April 2023 for a monthly subscription of $1,000. It's capable of harvesting sensitive information from a compromised host, including Keychain passwords, session cookies, files, crypto wallets, system metadata, and the machine's password via a fake prompt. Over the past several months, the malware has been observed propagated via  malvertising  and  compromised sites  under the guise of legitimate software and web browser updates. Malwarebytes' latest analysis shows that Atomic Stealer is no

How Cyberattacks Are Transforming Warfare

How Cyberattacks Are Transforming Warfare
Sep 13, 2023 Cyberwarfare / Threat Assessment
There is a new battlefield. It is global and challenging to defend. What began with a high-profile incident back in 2007, when Estonia was hit by hackers targeting its government and commercial sector, has evolved into cyber warfare that is being waged constantly worldwide. Today, cyberattacks have become the norm, transforming how we think about war and international conflict as a whole.  From the 2009 South Korea DDoS attacks to the 2010 attacks on Burma and the 2016 US election interference attacks on the Democratic National Committee, the list of historical cyberwarfare incidents continues to expand. The main players? Nation-state-supported cybercriminal groups and organizations linked to Russia, North Korea, China, and several countries in the Middle East. This report dives into three top cyberwarfare trends in an effort to understand their impact. Russia: The Cyber Invasion of Ukraine  On August 31, 2023, Five Eyes Agency — an intelligence alliance network composed of agencie

New AdLoad Variant Bypasses Apple's Security Defenses to Target macOS Systems

New AdLoad Variant Bypasses Apple's Security Defenses to Target macOS Systems
Aug 16, 2021
A new wave of attacks involving a notorious macOS adware family has evolved to leverage around 150 unique samples in the wild in 2021 alone, some of which have slipped past Apple's on-device malware scanner and even signed by its own notarization service, highlighting the malicious software ongoing attempts to adapt and evade detection. "AdLoad," as the malware is known, is one of several widespread adware and bundleware loaders targeting macOS since at least 2017. It's capable of backdooring an affected system to download and install adware or potentially unwanted programs (PUPs), as well as amass and transmit information about victim machines. The new iteration "continues to impact Mac users who rely solely on Apple's built-in security control XProtect for malware detection," SentinelOne threat researcher Phil Stokes  said  in an analysis published last week. "As of today, however, XProtect arguably has around 11 different signatures for AdLoa

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What's the Right EDR for You?

What's the Right EDR for You?
May 10, 2024Endpoint Security / Threat Detection
A guide to finding the right endpoint detection and response (EDR) solution for your business' unique needs. Cybersecurity has become an ongoing battle between hackers and small- and mid-sized businesses. Though perimeter security measures like antivirus and firewalls have traditionally served as the frontlines of defense, the battleground has shifted to endpoints. This is why endpoint detection and response (EDR) solutions now serve as critical weapons in the fight, empowering you and your organization to detect known and unknown threats, respond to them quickly, and extend the cybersecurity fight across all phases of an attack.  With the growing need to defend your devices from today's cyber threats, however, choosing the right EDR solution can be a daunting task. There are so many options and features to choose from, and not all EDR solutions are made with everyday businesses and IT teams in mind. So how do you pick the best solution for your needs? Why EDR Is a Must Because of

Hackers Exploit 0-Day Gatekeeper Flaw to Attack macOS Computers

Hackers Exploit 0-Day Gatekeeper Flaw to Attack macOS Computers
Apr 27, 2021
Security is only as strong as the weakest link. As further proof of this, Apple released an update to macOS operating systems to address an actively exploited zero-day vulnerability that could circumvent all security protections, thus permitting unapproved software to run on Macs. The macOS flaw, identified as  CVE-2021-30657 , was discovered and reported to Apple by security engineer Cedric Owens on March 25, 2021. "An unsigned, unnotarized, script-based proof of concept application [...] could trivially and reliably sidestep all of macOS's relevant security mechanisms (File Quarantine, Gatekeeper, and Notarization Requirements), even on a fully patched M1 macOS system," security researcher Patrick Wardle  explained  in a write-up. "Armed with such a capability macOS malware authors could (and are) returning to their proven methods of targeting and infecting macOS users." Apple's macOS comes with a feature called  Gatekeeper , which allows only  truste

First Malware Designed for Apple M1 Chip Discovered in the Wild

First Malware Designed for Apple M1 Chip Discovered in the Wild
Feb 18, 2021
One of the first malware samples tailored to run natively on Apple's M1 chips has been discovered, suggesting a new development that indicates that bad actors have begun adapting malicious software to target the company's latest generation of Macs powered by its own processors. While the transition to Apple silicon has necessitated developers to build new versions of their apps to ensure better performance and compatibility, malware authors are now undertaking similar steps to build malware that are capable of executing natively on Apple's new M1 systems, according to macOS Security researcher Patrick Wardle. Wardle detailed a Safari adware extension called GoSearch22 that was originally written to run on Intel x86 chips but has since been ported to run on ARM-based M1 chips. The rogue extension, which is a variant of the Pirrit advertising malware, was first seen in the wild on November 23, 2020, according to a sample  uploaded  to VirusTotal on December 27. "Tod

How Just Opening A Site In Safari Could Have Hacked Your Apple macOS

How Just Opening A Site In Safari Could Have Hacked Your Apple macOS
Nov 22, 2018
Earlier this week Dropbox team unveiled details of three critical vulnerabilities in Apple macOS operating system, which altogether could allow a remote attacker to execute malicious code on a targeted Mac computer just by convincing a victim into visiting a malicious web page. The reported vulnerabilities were originally discovered by Syndis , a cybersecurity firm hired by Dropbox to conduct simulated penetration testing attacks as Red Team on the company's IT infrastructure, including Apple software used by Dropbox . The vulnerabilities were discovered and disclosed to Apple security team in February this year, which were then patched by Apple just over one month later with the release of its  March security updates . DropBox applauded Apple for its quick response to its bug report. According to DropBox, the vulnerabilities discovered by Syndis didn't just affect its macOS fleet, but also affected all Safari users running the latest version of the web browser and op

Apple's New MacBook Disconnects Microphone "Physically" When Lid is Closed

Apple's New MacBook Disconnects Microphone "Physically" When Lid is Closed
Oct 31, 2018
Apple introduces a new privacy feature for all new MacBooks that "at some extent" will prevent hackers and malicious applications from eavesdropping on your conversations. Apple's custom T2 security chip in the latest MacBooks includes a new hardware feature that physically disconnects the MacBook's built-in microphone whenever the user closes the lid, the company revealed yesterday at its event at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. Though the new T2 chip is already present in the 2018 MacBook Pro models launched earlier this year, this new feature got unveiled when Apple launched the new Retina MacBook Air and published a full security guide for T2 Chip yesterday. "This disconnect is implemented in hardware alone, and therefore prevents any software, even with root or kernel privileges in macOS, and even the software on the T2 chip, from engaging the microphone when the lid is closed," Apple explained in the guide [ PDF ]. The tech giant furt

All New Privacy and Security Features Coming in macOS 10.14 Mojave

All New Privacy and Security Features Coming in macOS 10.14 Mojave
Jun 05, 2018
At Worldwide Developer Conference 2018 on Monday, Apple announced the next version of its macOS operating system, and it's called Mojave . Besides introducing new features and improvements of macOS 10.14 Mojave—like Dark Mode, Group FaceTime, Dynamic Desktop, and Finder—at WWDC, Apple also revealed a bunch of new security and privacy features coming with the next major macOS update. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the new features included in Mojave are "inspired by pro users, but designed for everyone," helping you protect from various security threats. Here's a list of all macOS Mojave security and privacy features: Safari's Enhanced "Intelligent Tracking Prevention" It's no longer shocking that your online privacy is being invaded, and everything you search online is being tracked—thanks to third-party trackers present on the Internet in the form of social media like and sharing buttons that marketers and data brokers use to monitor web use

Warning: New Undetectable DNS Hijacking Malware Targeting Apple macOS Users

Warning: New Undetectable DNS Hijacking Malware Targeting Apple macOS Users
Jan 12, 2018
A security researcher has revealed details of a new piece of undetectable malware targeting Apple's Mac computers—reportedly first macOS malware of 2018. Dubbed OSX/MaMi , an unsigned Mach-O 64-bit executable, the malware is somewhat similar to DNSChanger malware that infected millions of computers across the world in 2012. DNSChanger malware typically changes DNS server settings on infected computers, allowing attackers to route internet traffic through malicious servers and intercept sensitive information. First appeared on the Malwarebytes forum, a user posted a query regarding unknown malware that infected his friend's computer that silently changed DNS settings on infected macOS to 82.163.143.135 and 82.163.142.137 addresses. After looking at the post, ex-NSA hacker Patrick Wardle analysed the malware and found that it is indeed a ' DNS Hijacker, ' which also invokes security tools to install a new root certificate in an attempt to intercept encrypte

[Bug] macOS High Sierra App Store Preferences Can Be Unlocked Without a Password

[Bug] macOS High Sierra App Store Preferences Can Be Unlocked Without a Password
Jan 11, 2018
Yet another password vulnerability has been uncovered in macOS High Sierra, which unlocks App Store System Preferences with any password (or no password at all). A new password bug has been discovered in the latest version of macOS High Sierra that allows anyone with access to your Mac to unlock App Store menu in System Preferences with any random password or no password at all. The impact of this vulnerability is nowhere as serious as the previously disclosed root login bug in Apple's desktop OS that enabled access to the root superuser account simply by entering a blank password on macOS High Sierra 10.13.1. As reported on Open Radar earlier this week, the vulnerability impacts macOS version 10.13.2 and requires the attacker to be logged in with an administrator-level account for this vulnerability to work. I checked the bug on my fully updated Mac laptop, and it worked by entering a blank password as well as any random password. If you're running latest macOS

15-Year-Old Apple macOS 0-Day Kernel Flaw Disclosed, Allows Root Access

15-Year-Old Apple macOS 0-Day Kernel Flaw Disclosed, Allows Root Access
Jan 02, 2018
A security researcher on New Year's eve made public the details of an unpatched security vulnerability in Apple's macOS operating system that can be exploited to take complete control of a system. On the first day of 2018, a researcher using the online moniker Siguza released the details of the unpatched zero-day macOS vulnerability, which he suggests is at least 15 years old, and proof-of-concept (PoC) exploit code on GitHub . The bug is a serious local privilege escalation (LPE) vulnerability that could enable an unprivileged user (attacker) to gain root access on the targeted system and execute malicious code. Malware designed to exploit this flaw could fully install itself deep within the system. From looking at the source, Siguza believes this vulnerability has been around since at least 2002, but some clues suggest the flaw could actually be ten years older than that. "One tiny, ugly bug. Fifteen years. Full system compromise," he wrote. This local p

macOS High Sierra Bug Lets Anyone Gain Root Access Without a Password

macOS High Sierra Bug Lets Anyone Gain Root Access Without a Password
Nov 29, 2017
If you own a Mac computer and run the latest version of Apple's operating system, macOS High Sierra, then you need to be extra careful with your computer. A serious, yet stupid vulnerability has been discovered in macOS High Sierra that allows untrusted users to quickly gain unfettered administrative (or root) control on your Mac without any password or security check, potentially leaving your data at risk. Discovered by developer Lemi Orhan Ergin on Tuesday, the vulnerability only requires anyone with physical access to the target macOS machine to enter "root" into the username field, leave the password blank, and hit the Enter a few times—and Voila! In simple words, the flaw allows an unauthorized user that gets physical access on a target computer to immediately gain the highest level of access to the computer, known as "root," without actually typing any password. Needless to say, this blindingly easy Mac exploit really scary stuff. This vulner

Apple macOS High Sierra Bug Exposes Passwords of Encrypted APFS Volumes As Hint

Apple macOS High Sierra Bug Exposes Passwords of Encrypted APFS Volumes As Hint
Oct 06, 2017
A severe programming error has been discovered in Apple's latest macOS High Sierra 10.13 that exposes passwords of encrypted Apple File System (APFS) volumes in plain text. Reported by Matheus Mariano, a Brazilian software developer, the vulnerability affects encrypted volumes using APFS wherein the password hint section is showing the actual password in the plain text. Yes, you got that right—your Mac mistakenly reveals the actual password instead of the password hint. In September, Apple released macOS High Sierra 10.13 with APFS (Apple File System) as the default file system for solid-state drives (SSDs) and other all-flash storage devices, promising strong encryption and better performance. Mariano discovered the security issue while he was using the Disk Utility in macOS High Sierra to add a new encrypted APFS volume to a container. When adding a new volume, he was asked to set a password and, optionally, write a hint for it. So, whenever the new volume is mounted, m

Apple macOS High Sierra Exploit Lets Hackers Steal Keychain Passwords in Plaintext

Apple macOS High Sierra Exploit Lets Hackers Steal Keychain Passwords in Plaintext
Sep 26, 2017
Apple yesterday rolled out a new version of its macOS operating system, dubbed High Sierra 10.13 —a few hours before an ex-NSA hacker publicly disclosed the details of a critical vulnerability that affects High Sierra as well as all earlier versions of macOS. Patrick Wardle, an ex-NSA hacker and now head of research at security firm Synack, found a critical zero-day vulnerability in macOS that could allow any installed application to steal usernames and plaintext passwords of online accounts stored in the Mac Keychain. The macOS Keychain is a built-in password management system that helps Apple users securely store passwords for applications, servers, websites, cryptographic keys and credit card numbers—which can be accessed using only a user-defined master password. Typically no application can access the contents of Keychain unless the user enters the master password. "I discovered a flaw where malicious non-privileged code (or apps) could programmatically access th
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