One reason so many people love using Apple products is the theory that they're more secure than Windows gadgets. Let's face it, in the past, whenever you heard about a major virus making the rounds, most likely it was targeting Microsoft devices. That seems to be changing now.
Since Apple products are more popular than ever, hackers are starting to focus their attacks on them. We recently told you how Windows malware is now targeting Macs with the oldest trick in the book. Now, a new version of malware has been discovered that is also targeting Mac users.
How Russian hackers are targeting Mac users
Researchers with Bitdefender Labs found Mac-native backdoor malware and have linked it to Russian hackers. They believe it's the same group accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) last year. Microsoft tags the hackers, code-named Fancy Bear, as the group associated with more zero-day exploits than any other tracked group in 2016.
Microsoft said, "Fancy Bear frequently uses compromised e-mail accounts from one victim to send malicious e-mails to a second victim and will persistently pursue specific targets for months until they are successful in compromising the victims’ computer. Once inside, Fancy Bear moves laterally throughout the victim network, entrenches itself as deeply as possible to guarantee persistent access, and steals sensitive information."
Now, the group is going after Mac users with a variant of Xagent malware. Bitdefender said in a blog post, "The Xagent payload now can target victims running Mac OS X to steal passwords, grab screens and steal iPhone backups stored on the Mac."
This malware is installed on a Mac through phishing scams. When the victim clicks on a malicious link inside a fake email, they're taken to a fraudulent site that is designed to look like an Apple domain. That is where the malware infects your computer.
If your Mac is infected with this malware, hackers are able to grab desktop screenshots and harvest browser passwords. They can also steal information stored on an iPhone that has been backed-up on the infected Mac.
The best way to avoid this scam is to know how to spot a phishing attack. Click here to take our phishing IQ test and see if you can spot a fake email.
How to ward off a phishing attack
- Be cautious with links - If you get an email or notification from a site that you find suspicious, don't click on its links. It's better to type the website's address directly into a browser than clicking on a link. Before you ever click on a link, hover over it with your mouse to see where it is going to take you. If the destination isn't what the link claims, do not click on it.
- Do an online search - If you get a notification that seems shady, you should do an online search on the topic. If it's a scam, there are probably people online complaining about it and you can find more information.
- Watch for typos - Phishing scams are infamous for having typos. If you receive an email or notification from a reputable company, it should not contain typos.
- Check your online accounts - The site Have I Been Pwned allows you to check if your email address has been compromised in a data breach.
- Have strong security software - Having strong protection on your family's gadgets is very important. The best defense against digital threats is strong security software.
This is the latest malware targeting Mac users, there are bound to be more. Keep checking in with our Happening Now section for any updates and all your tech news.