New malware seeks to strike at the core of Apple (Includes interview)


A new strain of malware is infecting Apple computers, and it is not easy (if at all possible) to remove. The threat has been dubbed “Silver Sparrow”, and during February 2021 it has been found on Intel processor-based Macs plus more recent models built on the M1 chips. The Apple M1 is the first ARM-based system on a chip (SoC) designed by Apple Inc. as a central processing unit (CPU) for its line of Macintosh computers.

To date some 30,000 computers in over 150 countries have been found to be infected (so far, the number is expected to rise). The vast majority of the 30,000 devices are owned by users residing in Europe and the U.S.

The malware has also spread very rapidly. To infect the malware appears to use a different infectious mechanism, different to other macOS-based malware. The malicious code communicates with a remote server with regularity in order to obtain nay updated instructions from the unknown group behind the malware.

But what does the malware do? So far, technologists have not yet determined what this malware does.

According to analyst Adam K. Levin of CyberScout, there is some good news with the uncertainty about the purpose of the code. First off, he tells Digital Journal: “We don’t know what Silver Sparrow does. Yes, that news cuts both ways.”

Speculating as to what the code might be fore, Levin sets out the options: “It could be a doomsday countdown clock to cyber-Armageddon.” yet in the other hand, Levin says: “It could also be an elegant and ultimately harmless proof-of-concept that was detected before it was able to do any real damage.”

Levin cautions, however: “That’s not to dismiss Silver Sparrow as a concern. It is on the radar of the cybersecurity community. There are a minimum of 100,000,000 Apple computers in use.” So the 30,000 identified to date is a very small proportion of the number of Apple products globally.

He adds that Apple users need to be mindful of the risk, noting: “Yes, it could spread, and most likely will. This is like everything else, and as such is a warning for daily cyber awareness.”

So, what to do? Here Levin recommends: “There are known threats targeting your computer, mobile device, tablet, home…

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