Feeds

Mac malware found with valid developer ID at freedom conference

Angolan activist targeted for screenshot spying

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The annual Oslo Freedom Conference, where activists meet to share tips on advancing human rights, has thrown up an unusual piece of Apple OS X malware.

At a workshop covering how to secure your hardware against government intrusion, security researcher Jacob Applebaum discovered the code on a laptop owned by an Angolan human rights campaigner. The malware was stealing screenshots from the infected system and uploading them to two command and control servers.

The malware is a hidden program called macs.app which installs itself among the computer's log-in items so that it fires up once the machine is booted. It had been signed off by a legitimate Apple developer ID, enabling it to get past Cupertino's Gatekeeper security software.

Once activated, the software takes a regular series of screenshots from the infected computer and sends them off to two servers – one of which has been found to be inactive and the other is private. Since the initial discovery, a second sample of the malware has also been discovered on another system, but this isn't thought to be a large-scale attack.

"The Angolan activist was pwned via a spear phishing attack – I have the original emails, the original payload and an updated payload," Applebaum tweeted. He also said that Apple has now revoked the developer ID used by the code.

Thankfully, removing the malware is relatively simple. F-Secure already has a signature file for it included in its security software, and users can delete it themselves by removing the macs.app application from the log-in queue and applications folder.

The use of a developer ID is unusual in the world of malware for OS X, and this fact, along with its highly targeted distribution method, suggests it's a custom job done specifically for spying on specific individuals.

Malware is increasingly being used to spy on activists in China and other countries (here in the Land of the Free the government doesn't need to, since the phone companies are happy to help) and those who think they might be under surveillance should take extra precautions with their systems and communications. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.