Nearly 30,000 Mac computers worldwide have been infected by a mysterious malware called Silver Sparrow, according to researchers at the Red Canary security company.
There is a common stereotype that Mac computers are largely immune to malware, which is not true.
And theExplained (Tony Lambert) Tony Lambert, analyst at Red Canary, says the malware does not display the behaviors expected from the usual adware that often targets macOS.
It is not clear what the target of the malware is, researchers said: Silver Sparrow includes a self-destruct mechanism that may remove any traces of it, and it appears that it was not used. It is unclear what would trigger this functionality.
Notably, Silver Sparrow contains code that originally runs via Apple’s M1 chip, which was released in November, making it the second known malware to do so.
The researchers write: Although we haven’t noticed Silver Sparrow offering additional harmful parts yet, its compatibility with the M1 chip, global reach, relatively high infection rate, and operational maturity indicates Silver Sparrow is a serious threat.
Silver Sparrow has infected Macs in 153 countries as of February 17, with higher concentrations reported in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Germany, according to data from the website Malwarebytes, which prevents ransomware attacks.
The Red Canary post goes into more detail, including how they discovered multiple versions that target Intel chips as well, in addition to the M1 chip, which is strange given that the devices running this chip are still very recent.
And security researcher Patrick Wardle earlier this month published a story about the first malware targeting new Apple chips.
The researchers warn that Apple’s switch from Intel to its own could make it easier for hackers to introduce malware.