Feeds

Malware house offered bounty for infected Macs

Fake OS X codec scam exposed

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

A researcher has unearthed fresh evidence of cyber criminals' growing attraction to Apple's OS X platform with the discovery of a now-disbanded group that offered 43 cents for every infected Mac.

Mac-codec.com was just one of hundreds of "codec-partnerka," a term researcher Dmitry Samosseiko uses to describe the well-organized affiliate networks that pay a small bounty each time their malware is installed on an unsuspecting end user's computer. What makes this one stand apart is its dedication to the Mac platform.

"It's very infrequent," Samosseiko told The Register, referring to the finding he made earlier this year. "We discover new ones extremely rarely compared to Windows platforms."

The site advertised various promotional materials Mac-based "video players" and offered "webmasters" the fee in exchange for each installation on Macs that visited their exploit sites. The 43-cent fee is slightly lower than the 50 cents to 55 cents the codec-partnerka pay for infections of Windows-based machines, Samosseiko said.

The outfit was holding out the offer in January and February of this year, but has since closed its doors, said Samosseiko, who is manager of Sophoslabs in Canada, a research arm of anti-virus firm Sophos. He presented his findings as part of a larger discussion about codec-partnerka presented at this week's Virus Bulletin conference in Geneva. The groups' malware typically masquerades as legitimate video codecs or anti-virus software.

"I suspect that it wasn't as profitable to target the Mac platform at that point," he explained. Mac-codec.com "probably closed because it wasn't commercially viable for them to conduct business."

Screenshot of Mac-Codec.com

Infiltrating the highly secretive networks is by no means an easy task. Most of them are based in Russia or elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and interlopers must first gain the trust of other members. Although Mac-codec.com is no longer active, Samosseiko doesn't believe that's the end of the bounty program for infected OS X systems.

"I suspect there are others targeting other Mac users," he said. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Desperate VXers enslave FREEZERS in DDoS bot
Updated Spike malware targets Asia
Heatmiser digital thermostat users: For pity's sake, DON'T SWITCH ON the WI-FI
A stranger turns up YOUR heat with default password 1234
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.