If you own an Apple product and have not seen or heard about the recent increase of nasty malware targeting Mac OS then now is your chance to get up to speed. I know that many of you out there using this Mac OS do so due to ease of use and seamless integration into your tech toys like iPhones and iPads. The belief that Windows users were the only ones with a malware problem is a myth. You need to wake up to fact that your laptop, iPhone or iPad is being targeted; the malware is getting really sophisticated and all platforms are susceptible to attack!
Here are some examples of the recent malware you should know about:
Proton – The malware includes root-access privileges and features that allow an attacker to obtain full control of the victim’s computer. Its capabilities include: running real-time console commands and file-manager, key logging, SSH/VNC connectivity, screenshots, webcam operation and the ability to present a custom native window requesting information such as a credit-card, driver’s license and more. The malware also boasts the capability of iCloud access, even when two-factor authentication is enabled.
Xagent – This malware contains payload that can make a compromised system running Mac OS X provide passwords, take screen captures and wipe iPhone backups stored on the Mac OS system.
As you can see being a Mac user does not guarantee security and this scenario is only going to get worse. For your own sake please always keep that in mind. That said, here is what you can do to protect yourself:
- Use Time Machine to make backs up regularly and ensure they are encrypted. I prefer not to use iCloud due to the fact I am not really sure who Apple shares this data with. While they say things publicly the other side of the fence might offer a differing view.
- Ensure all iPhone backups are also encrypted.
- Use a tool such as Little Snitch to determine when unknown connections are leaving your Mac. Getting to know what your computer is doing and what it should be doing is key to early detection of compromise.
- Determine if a downloaded application might not be what you think it is using Suspicious Package.
- Get alerted if your being watched with OverSight.
- For your base install you already have the following:
- Using a passphrase for a password that 20+ characters long
- Using FileVault
- Using DuckDuckGo for your searching and research
- Use a VPN if you have to use a public or untrusted WiFi provider
- Track the security news for new developments in Mac OS malware
The main goal here is to not be an easy target and to create as many layers of defense as possible to protect yourself. As in life, prevention is always better than the cure!