A mysterious Mac malware has been discovered on 30,000 computers. Security researchers are puzzling over the origin and purpose of the malware.
A previously unknown malware has apparently infected around 30,000 Mac computers. The security company Red Canary discovered the malware called “Silver Sparrow” earlier this month. This infected at least 29,139 macOS systems in 153 countries.
The purpose of Silver Sparrow and who developed the malware is completely unclear. At the moment, Silver Sparrow is evidently an empty shell, it lacks the so-called “payload”, ie a piece of software that could actively cause damage or spy on data.
Instead, Silver Sparrow contacts a control server once an hour, apparently to check whether the creators of the malware have placed commands or other malware there for download. Red Canary monitor the malware for a week – nothing happens during that time. It seems that Silver Sparrow is waiting for an unknown time in the future to take action.
Malware is deceitful
Silver Sparrow is believed to be spread via infected installation files, and the malware is pretty good at covering its tracks. It also has a self-destruct function, so it is very possible that it had infected many more than the 30,000 computers mentioned in the past without being noticed.
Silver Sparrow has also been adapted to the new Apple M1 chips that were only launched in December – as the second malware ever. This suggests that the makers of Silver Sparrow are relatively professional and are actively developing their malware – that is, they are probably up to evil.
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