While news of malware infections on Macs is relatively rare, new information about nearly 30,000 Macs infected is a matter of concern due to its complex nature and lack of information available.
Researchers at Red Canary have discovered a new type of macOS malware they dubbed Silver Sparrow. The malware is strange for many reasons, the main one being that it has remained largely inactive until now. Despite the fact that it exchanges data with the command and control servers once an hour, waiting for the execution of potentially malicious binaries, at the moment Silver Sparrow has not harmed infected computers.
Macs and an unknown malware
In addition to the Intel x86_64 variant, an analog for the Apple M1 was found. Both versions contain “third-party observer binaries” that print “Hello World!” and “You did it!” Displaying such messages on the screen is not a serious problem, but potentially the malware can start performing some work on request from the control servers. Red Canary emphasized that complex infrastructure leverages CDNs and AWS networks effectively, making it difficult to track and remove.
Another interesting fact about Silver Sparrow is that it contains self-destruct mechanisms that remove all traces of malware from infected devices. This mechanism was not observed by default on infected computers, which means that it was loaded randomly based on the fulfillment of currently unknown conditions.
Red Canary reported that as of February 17, 2021, 29,139 macOS devices have been infected in 153 countries.
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Apple overtakes Samsung as the world’s largest phone maker for Q4 2020
In the face of serious competition from the likes of Huawei and Samsung, Apple has struggled to take the top seat in smartphone manufacturers’ ranking. In fact, for several quarters, it trailed behind Samsung and Huawei globally. Since 2016, the American manufacturing giant has not been the top phone maker globally. However, the company seems to be getting its mojo back. With Huawei out of the way as a result of the U.S. ban, Apple is left with just Samsung to contend with. According to a recent Gartner report, Apple is currently the largest smartphone vendor worldwide, at least as of Q4 2020.
According to the report, iPhone sales in Q4 2020 hit 80 million units. Many thanks to Apple’s loyal fans who patiently waited for Apple’s first 5G phones; even though they were at least a year behind the competition. Senior Research Director at Gartner, Anshul Gupta, said…
“Even as consumers remained cautious in their spending and held off on some discretionary purchases; 5G smartphones and pro-camera features encouraged some end users to purchase new smartphones; or upgrade their current smartphones in the quarter.”
Market data shows that Apple’s iPhone market share soared by about 15% year-on-year. Last year, it sold about 70 million iPhones in Q4 2020. This is 10 million units less than its current performance. As for Samsung, its market share plunged by 11.8%. As of Q4 2019, Samsung sold 8 million more devices relative to this year.