First malware for Apple’s new M1 Macs discovered “in the wild”


Julie Broms, Senior Manager of Hardware Engineering at Apple, presenting the Mac Mini (2020).  The  small desktop computer is one of the first three models to feature the new, highly efficient M1 chip. Image: keystone

First malware for Apple’s new M1 Macs discovered “in the wild”

© The  first Mac computers with Apple’s M1 chip have only recently become available – and malware that has been specially (re) programmed for this is already circulating.


 The  discovery, which is unpleasant for Mac users, comes from the well-known IT security researcher Patrick Wardle. In a blog post (see sources), he describes in detail how he went about tracking down the malware.


 The  malware is a pest from the comparatively harmless category of adware. It bears the name GoSearch22, was apparently optimized for Apple Silicon by a Chinese developer, and appeared for the first time on December 27, just a few weeks after the first M1 Macs were available.

Why is that important?

9to5mac summarizes why this is important according to the security researcher:

  • For one thing, this is real evidence of how quickly malicious code evolves in response to new hardware and software from Apple.
  • In addition, it is more important to realize that current antivirus tools may not be up to the task of fighting such new types of malware.


 The  malware was discovered thanks to one of the free open source tools that Patrick Wardle offers for Mac users under the name Objective-See.


 The  Apple M1 is Apple’s first arm-based System-on-a-Chip for its Mac computers. It has been installed in the 4th generation MacBook Air, the 5th generation Mac Mini and the MacBook Pro with 13-inch display since the end of 2020.

Apple’s M1 Macs clearly outperformed devices with Intel processors in benchmark tests.



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malware Apples Macs discovered wild


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