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Apple Mac OS malware threat to grow, claims Kaspersky

16 Jul 2012
Apple iMac 27in (3.4 GHz Intel Core i7)

The Find and Call Trojan discovered on Apple's iOS system will likely be a one off event, with the company's core Mac operating system proving a much more profitable target, according to Kaspersky researcher David Emm.

Emm claimed that instead other targets like Android and Apple's Mac OS present much easier and more profitable opportunities to hackers.

"Apple has a got a lot right with its iOS approach. The monitoring and removal procedures are really good. Android's are less solid, so there's no real reason for them to shift focus at the moment," Emm told V3.

"I don't think we're going to see the same rise in iOS malware that we've seen on the Mac OS."

Emm predicted that while iOS would remain largely ignored by criminals, Apple's core Mac OS will be increasingly targeted.

"It's about market share and the Mac OS has hit the tipping point where it's worth criminals' time to target it," Emm told V3. "We started detecting stuff about two years ago but a massive turning point was this year with Flashback."

The Flashback malware was uncovered at the start of 2012. At its peak the malware was believed to have infected over 600,000 systems.

Emm's warnings follow on from the recent discovery of the Mac Control backdoor. The exploit was discovered targeting Uyghyr activists on 6 July and has been listed as the second major attack to target the Mac OS this year.

The Kaspersky security chief also provided some more insights on the firm's claim to have discovered the first ever piece of working malware running on Apple's mobile iOS operating system.

Kaspersky reported discovering the malicious Find and Call Trojan app on the Android and Apple stores in June. The app reportedly attempted to harvest a user's contacts and upload them to a remote server.

Despite Kaspersky's strong claims, competing security vendor Sophos and Trend Micro have questioned whether the app really is malware.

Emm claimed that the conflicting reports stemmed from a confusion regarding the two vendors' definition of malware.

"To me, the app makes changes to people's devices without their permission. While we've openly said we didn't see any evidence that it was being used for cyber crime, that to me is malware," said Emm.

 

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Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

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