Kaspersky Lab uncovers new Mac OS X backdoor

By on July 5, 2012, 8:30 AM

Kaspersky Lab has ousted a new backdoor in Mac OS X that is used as part of an Advanced Persistent Threat campaign. Experts say this is a new and previously unknown variant of the MaControl backdoor, affecting both i386 and PowerPC Macs.

The backdoor is landing on machines via e-mail containing the malicious attachment, often disguised as a .jpeg file. Once the code has been executed, it connects to a Command and Control server that lets the author run commands and open files on the infected system. The security lab was able to determine that the control server was located in China. Furthermore, the infection was said to originally target Uyghur activists in this region.

This threat is the latest in a growing number of attacks against Apple users. In April, the Flashback malware made headlines as it infected over 600,000 systems worldwide. More than half of those infections occurred in the US.

For many years it was believed that Macs weren’t vulnerable to the same type of attacks that Windows users had been plagued with but now we know that isn’t true. The reality, however, is simply that Macs weren’t as popular as they are now and there simply wasn’t enough motivation for hackers to target Apple systems.

As one could imagine, these outbreaks and subsequent negative press isn’t doing much to help Apple’s reputation as being invincible to viruses and malware. In fact, Kaspersky CEO Eugene Kaspersky recently said that the Mac is at least 10 years behind Microsoft with regards to security.




User Comments: 12

Got something to say? Post a comment
Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can feel bit smug after reading this but I am not

I always believed that because Macs didn't had any significant market share, they were not a 'useful' target for malware etc., creating a false sense of security especially for novice/less knowledgeable users. Now that it has become more of a 'status' symbol, hence, everyone thinks its cool to have Macs, it has started attracting attention from hackers. So, it wouldn't be surprising if this pattern grows and becomes a norm in the coming years.

fimbles fimbles said:

Its quite nice to see decent hackers poke at osx and watch some big holes appear.

After years of "no virus on macs" as a selling point its quite nice to rub it in :P

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

"Mac is at least 10 years behind Microsoft with regards to security." Now that's something to feel smug about, and I can honestly say that I do. All the arguments I've been in with people who own Macs and always claim the old "Well we don't get viruses" all I have to say is Ha. I have been through half a dozen PCs in 10 years and have gotten infected once, and that was purely my own fault, I was also 14 at the time and didn't know what I know now. I'm not wishing viruses on Mac users, don't get me wrong, I'm just happy knowing there is now 0 reason to own a Mac.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

"Furthermore, the infection was said to originally target Uyghur activists in this region."

Those are some baller Uyghurs if they're running around with MBPs.

Guest said:

"For many years it was believed that Macs weren't vulnerable to the same type of attacks that Windows users had been plagued with but now we know that isn't true."

Who the hell ever made this assumption?!

Wow ignorance is bliss!

Guest said:

You'd have to be an ***** if you believed any OS would be immune to malware or viruses. The first time I bought a Mac, I purchased antivirus software and installed the free ones on there immediately. Although the Mac doesn't have as many viruses or malware as Windows yet, it's definitely coming.

As I am more a PC guy, I do agree that I feel more secure with my PC versus the Mac OS though.

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The Chinese government has been putting backdoors in the firmware of chips. The US has been putting backdoors in MS and Apple OS's since 9/11

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Wow ignorance is bliss!

You'd have to be an ***** if you believed any OS would be immune to malware or viruses.

Quoted for truth.

Jay Pfoutz Jay Pfoutz, Malware Helper, said:

I find this entertaining. But seriously, whatever is created by man can be broken by man!

Guest said:

Kaspersky is turning inside out to promote their anti-virus. The whole article sounds fishy, starting with Uyghurs with Macs, and ending with Kaspersky claiming that Mac is 10 years behind somebody else in something. I once tried their anti-virus, it worked very slow, found an enormous amount of false positives and crashed without finishing the full scan. I never used it again since, I use Avast now on Windows. I'll wait until I hear an opinion of some DECENT anti-virus developer about Mac security. I don't trust Kaspersky.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Agreed with the guest above me. You can't put much weight behind a report by a security company that has a product to sell you. This is likely a Chinese government thing against a specific group as mentioned (if that is even true). Its not like this is out there affecting millions of people.

Guest said:

Kaspersky seems to be in the news a lot these days predicting doomsday, I think its just a marketing campaign under false pretenses.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.