There was a time when Apple was a niche player in the technology market.
As such, one thing Apple users could count on was the fact that they didn’t have to worry much about viruses or malware.
Hackers didn’t bother targeting them because there was so much low hanging fruit in the Windows market.
Times have changed, and Apple is now one of the dominant forces in tech. Given that change, the company’s products are now regularly targeted by hackers around the world. The most recently discovered variant of a MacOS-specific malware dubbed OSAMiner is an excellent example of that.
OSAMiner has been seen in the wilds and in use by hackers since at least 2015, but the group that controls the code has taken pains to keep the malware relevant by making regular updates. Its most recent update has made it a nasty piece of work indeed.
OASMiner’s latest capabilities have seen it begin to export payloads as run-only AppleScript files, which makes decompiling them a daunting proposition. That makes the job of security professionals attempting to analyze the code in order to better understand it, an extremely challenging proposition.
Typically, OSAMiner is spread embedded in pirated copies of games and productivity software, so unless you make regular use of those, you’re unlikely to see this strain. If you do, however, be advised that it will quietly install itself on your system and begin hogging an ever-increasing share of resources. It does this as it sets about the task of mining for cryptocurrency, using your system to put money in the pockets of the hackers.
As malware goes, that’s certainly not the worst thing in the world. Your system will be sluggish and increasingly unresponsive if you find yourself infected with the code, but your files and the integrity of your network won’t be at risk. Of course, the hackers controlling the software could decide to shift gears at any time, so there’s no guarantee that will hold.
In any case, it’s something you should be aware of. Again, know that it is proving to be extremely hard to analyze properly thanks to some clever coding tricks employed by those who designed it.