Cyber-Attackers Creating More Sophisticated Apple OS Malware
From the Mask to Coinstealer to WireLurker, cyber-attackers continue to develop more sophisticated Mac OS X malware.While malware has never been highly prevalent on Apple's Mac OS X and iOS, attackers continue to show their persistence in developing advanced techniques to compromise the operating systems. For the latest malware, dubbed WireLurker, the attackers used trojanized applications delivered through a third-party app store that infect users' systems and then attempt to infect iOS phones that are connected to the system. Other attacks have used a similar approach to get around Apple's software ecosystem: Coinstealer, a Bitcoin stealing app, masquerades as a cracked version of Angry Birds. While malware developers are not nearly as likely to target Mac OS X, compared with Windows—or Apple's iOS compared with Android—Apple users should expect to see more malware targeting their devices, Ryan Olson, intelligence director for Palo Alto Networks, told eWEEK. "We will continue to see new malware for both Mac OS X and iOS, and they will incrementally get better and better," he said, adding: "I would be most worried about high-value targets," such as dissidents and government officials.
Apple's software ecosystem has made the company's two operating systems, Mac OS X and iOS, difficult targets for most attackers. With OS X Mountain Lion, Apple introduced Gatekeeper, a technology to limit what applications can run on a Mac. At the most stringent level, which Apple made the default setting, code can only run if created and signed by a known developer. Apple's iOS requires signed code, unless jailbroken.