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Security & privacy

New malware is coming after Macs and 30K computers have been infected

If you’re buying a new Apple laptop, say goodbye to Intel chips. Apple’s new M1 processors are revitalizing the classic MacBook Pro, MacBook Air and Mac Mini lines. Although these high-tech chips are the talk of the town, watch out: Hackers are looking for chinks in the armor.

Last week, security researchers discovered one of the first malware samples specifically tailored for Apple’s M1 chips. In other words, now Mac users have threats targeting them to watch for. Tap or click here for a recent patch to another serious Mac vulnerability.

If you bought an Apple computer within the past few months, it could have been breached by this new malware. The so-called “Silver Sparrow” has infected almost 30,000 new Apple computers. Here’s the full story.

Unmasking the malware

Bad actors never take a day off. Thankfully, security researchers at Red Canary are working hard to push Silver Sparrow from the nest. They identified this new strain of macOS malware, which affects three Apple Mac devices that run on M1 chips:

  • Apple Macbook Air
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch
  • Apple Mac mini

According to Red Canary Analyst Tony Lambert, Silver Sparrow runs natively on Apple’s in-house M1 chip and is unique from other malware types. Silver Sparrow does not “exhibit the behaviors that we’ve come to expect from the usual adware that so often targets macOS systems,” he said.

Instead, it uses JavaScript, a Mac-attacking tactic security researchers haven’t previously encountered. So far, Silver Sparrow has infected 29,139 Mac devices across 153 countries. Most infections are in the U.S. and the U.K., along with Canada, France and Germany.

Oddly enough, security researchers haven’t seen Silver Sparrow do anything harmful yet. Still, it’s good to watch out for this canary in the coal mine.

While viruses are less common on Apple’s computers, you’ve got to watch out for a ton of malicious software no matter what system you’re using. Tap or click here to see the biggest threats to your Mac or PC.

Moving forward

We’re going to follow this story closely and share the latest updates. In the meantime, you may want to look into a Mac-centric antivirus program. We’re seeing new types of Apple-targeted malware popping up left and right.

If you haven’t already been compromised, it’s only a matter of time before an attack charges toward your system. Luckily, we found some essential security programs you can download — for free. Tap or click here to see our favorite anti-malware for Mac.

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