Feeds

Mac spyware infiltrates popular download sites

'Very serious security threat'

Intelligent flash storage arrays

A spyware application that surreptitiously scans chat logs and hard drives of unsuspecting Mac users has found its way onto three of the more popular download sites, security researchers said Tuesday.

Dubbed OSX/OpinionSpy, the spyware is distributed through software available on sites including Softpedia, MacUpdate, and VersionTracker, according to Intego, a provider of anti-virus software for Macs. The app isn't contained in the downloads themselves, but rather gets downloaded during the installation process, Intego said. A Windows version of the program has existed since at least 2008.

Once installed, OpinionSpy scans files and folders on all attached hard drives and regularly sends data in encrypted form to several servers, according to Intego. It also injects code into the Safari, Firefox, and iChat applications and mines them for email addresses, message headers, and other data. The program remains active even if the screensaver or other application that was originally downloaded is uninstalled.

"The fact that this application collects data in this manner, and that it opens a backdoor, makes it a very serious security threat," Intego researchers wrote. "In addition, the risk of it collecting sensitive data such as user names, passwords and credit card numbers, makes this a very high-risk spyware."

Apple's OS X operating system has long been regarded as a haven from the huge base of malware that regularly targets users of Microsoft's Windows. The Windows threat has grown so large that Google has begun advising its new employees to use alternates, The Financial Times has reported.

Mac's most ardent supporters have long claimed the platform is more inherently secure than Windows, a perception Apple marketers have been happy to perpetuate. But a more plausible explanation, advanced by Charlie Miller and other white-hat hackers who regularly exploit Apple security bugs, is that the platform isn't sufficiently big enough to justify the investment of hardened crime gangs.

Intego identified the apps installing OpinionSpy as the MishInc FLV To Mp3 media converter and screensavers made by the company 7art-screensavers. More details about the spyware are here. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Syrian Electronic Army in news site 'hack' POP-UP MAYHEM
Gigya redirect exploit blamed for pop-rageous ploy
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.