It’s quite interesting that despite the years and years of talk about Malware and Viruses being almost completely missing from the Mac Universe, ooh, here we go. There used to be a joke that if you want to lose money as a Mac Developer, get into the antivirus realm, and that’s been true for some time.
But, as we should have expected, as the Mac user base continues to grow, the real danger grows. These virus hackers aren’t exactly lazy when it comes to releasing these beasts into the wild, so perhaps we need to be sharper as a Mac user in 2017. Hilariously, the most dangerous payload that seems to be out there right now for Mac users was born in the classic way – as a Word document macro:
On Windows systems, malware-loaded macros hidden in documents of one sort or another have long been a way of infecting careless users who are happy to open suspicious looking attachments they get emailed, but this is the first real-world attack to infect Mac computers, as Ars Technica observes.
This particular payload is tucked away within a Word document which is entitled: ‘U.S. Allies and Rivals Digest Trump’s Victory – Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.’
As well as opening the file, you also have to ignore a prompt to disable macros, warning that macros may contain viruses etc. But generally speaking, there are always foolish users willing to do so, or who don’t read things properly, particularly if the malware-bearing document is temptingly named and they can’t wait to see the contents.
Unsurprisingly, viruses for Macs don’t just show up out of the blue – there really is very little need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, it’s often more likely that these are just ported out to the Mac directly from original Windows code. Heck, if it breaks something, why fix it, I guess.
It’s something apparently that Mac users are going to be seeing quite a lot of in the years to come:
This development comes as another piece of macOS malware, called MacDownloader, was discovered earlier this week. In this case, it’s believed this was the work of Iranian hackers targeting the US defense industry, with the malware wrapped up in a fake installer. When executed, it makes off with system info and keychain data.
Clearly, more malware is being targeted at the Mac, and adapted from other platforms to hit Apple’s computers. Indeed, last autumn we saw the Mokes malware – which had previously plagued Windows and Linux systems – arrive in a Mac flavor. That one is a particularly nasty strain which opens up backdoor functionality to let the attacker do all manner of things to your computer or notebook.
So, it is important to remember that keeping your data safe is paramount for every user. And while certainly there are always interesting ways to recover your data if a virus happens to all but destroy your data, waiting for this to happen isn’t a good idea. Instead, consider a Mac Antivirus program (they do exist) and get it working right away.