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'Kissing couple' Trojan sent to slurp fanbois' data... Syrian Electronic Army fingered

She'll pop yer scuppers, but can't scuttle ye ... for now

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A “low risk” Mac Trojan seemingly linked to the Syrian Electronic Army has surfaced on the web.

The Mac-specific Trojan comes disguised as a picture of a kissing couple. If opened, it creates a back door on compromised Apple computers.

"This appears to be a targeted attack, though the method of delivery is not yet known," a blog post by Lysa Myers of Mac security specialists Intego explains. "So, while this has been affecting users in the wild, the overall threat level appears to be low."

The Trojan is an application disguised as a picture file – the .app file-extension is not visible by default. Possible delivery mechanisms include as an attachment to emails or from a compromised website frequented by targets.

If installed, the Trojan opens a back door that phones home to a command-and-control server. This server is currently down.

However, during testing, Intego was able to connect to the C&C server, which collected system information before downloading an image file depicting the eagle-themed coat of arms of the Syrian Electronic Army, a notorious bunch of hacktivists loyal to the Bashar Assad's regime.

The SEA is best known for hijacking the Twitter feeds of Western media organisations using phishing to push propaganda messages but it has also engaged in website defacement and DNS redirection-style attacks, such as a recent assault against the New York Times website.

Malware attacks, including spyware flung at the computers of human right activists, have long been a feature of the wider Syrian civil war but have not been a tactic favoured by the SEA, at least up till now.

The SEA has yet to comment on the attack one way or another. It would be naive to assume the malware is the work of the hacktivists simply because it includes a logo referring to the SEA and for this and other reasons the authorship of the malware remains unclear. ®

Bootnote

Asked directly whether the SEA had anything to do with creating the trojan the group denied any involvement. A representative of the prolific hackers told El Reg:

"No, it's not associated with us."

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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