Attackers targeting macOS with Trojans, adware

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 11 August, 2023

Attackers targeting macOS with Trojans, adware

Despite the common perception that Apple’s operating systems are shielded from cyber attack campaigns, new research indicates that cybercriminals will go to greater lengths to coerce Mac users into clicking on malicious links to implant malware.

Bitdefender’s latest macOS Threat Landscape report found that Mac users are targeted by Trojans, adware and potentially unwanted applications. Trojans remain the biggest single threat to users of the platform, accounting for more than half of threats detected by the company.

Threat actors use every trick in the book to infect systems, ranging from social engineering to malvertising to tainted file downloads via torrent or warez websites. EvilQuest remains the single most common piece of malware targeting Macs, the report found.

Potentially unwanted applications make up more than a quarter of detections, and are commonly found as freeware, repackaged applications or utility apps. The report found that despite Apple’s tight control over the macOS ecosystem, developers have flooded the market with suspicious apps.

Meanwhile adware accounts for just over a fifth of threats targeting Mac computers, and is commonly distributed from freeware programs, fake installers, software downloaded from torrents and warez sites, pirated programs, and malicious links and advertising.

The report concludes that far from being a walled garden, the macOS safety net is far from impenetrable.

“In fact, this false sense of protection often means malware tailored to infect Macs is better suited to its goals,” the report states. “Threat actors have less attack surface to exploit, so they are forced to optimise their techniques and procedures to ensure better success.”

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