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New Crypto-Mining Malware Tool Attacks Apple Mac OS – Study

Contrary to the belief held by many Apple enthusiasts, recent reports show that Apple products are not entirely immune to malware and viruses. On February 23rd, an Apple Insider discovered a new crypto-jacking malware variant on the MacOS.

According to the report, this malware is difficult to detect. Besides, reports claim that the malicious software proliferates through illegal copies of Final Cut Pro, a video editing software.

Malware Mines Crypto On Affected Apple Devices 

Jamf Threat Labs, a cybersecurity firm specializing in the Apple ecosystem, was the first to detect the malware. Over the past few months, it has been monitoring the reappearance of various forms of malware.

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In 2018, a similar type of crypto-jacking malware affected Apple’s operating system. Also, the researchers discovered a line mining tool that uses the XMRig command.

The tool ran as a background application in pirated copies of Apple’s video editing application. In addition, the malware was detected in pirated copies of Logic Pro and Adobe Photoshop, Apple’s music sampling software.

After installation, the malware discreetly mines cryptocurrency using the compromised Macs. Besides, it is precisely engineered to avoid detection.

Usually, Apple Macs are equipped with an “Activity Monitor” feature that allows users to view running processes. However, the malware can cease all operations when this tool is opened to evade detection.

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Jamf issued a warning in a report describing the threat, stating, “adware has historically been the most common form of macOS malware. However, crypto-jacking, which involves a covert and extensive cryptocurrency mining operation, is gaining ground in terms of popularity.”

Further, the XMRig utilizes a communication protocol called the Invisible Internet Project (i2P) to establish communication. This protocol enables it to transfer the mined crypto to the perpetrator’s wallet.

MacOS Ventura Unable To Stop Malware 

Meanwhile, the malware deceives Mac users by convincing them to disable Apple’s Gatekeeper protection entirely. Doing so allows the pirated application to run smoothly.

Moreover, the cybersecurity team observed that macOS Ventura, Apple’s latest operating system, was no match for the malware. The OS antimalware software could not detect and stop the malware from mining crypto.

Per an Apple Insider, “users cannot currently depend on their antimalware software for full protection.” Fortunately, the researchers could track the user that distributed the fake programs on Pirate Bay, a peer-to-peer sharing site.

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Upon further analysis, they discovered that virtually all the copied applications the particular account shared contained crypto-mining malware. Jamf’s investigation also revealed that security experts on a malware-detecting platform called VirusTotal did not classify the malware as malicious.

Security outlets advised users to refrain from downloading pirated Apple software as a precaution.


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Bradley Nelson

Bradley Nelson is a US based cryptocurrency news writer for Tokenhell, he helps readers stay up to date with the latest trends and news from the blockchain and crypto world. Bradley has been a crypto enthusiast since 2018.

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