Mac users hit with Windows-style 'Koobface' Trojan

Multi-platform attack targets Windows and Apple

A week after a security company warned Mac users of the slowly growing risk of malware attack, a new Mac OS X Trojan-worm based on Koobface has been discovered circulating via Facebook and Twitter.

The malware appears in security bulletins puts out by two Mac anti-malware companies, SecureMac, which has dubbed it trojan.osx.boonana.a, and Intego, which describes it as OSX/Koobface.A, which would make it a variant of the common Koobface worm that afflicted Facebook in 2008.

The interesting feature of the worm-cum-Trojan is its design and delivery, which resembles the sort of malevolence that is utterly standard in Windows world.

Using an "Is this you in this video?" link on Facebook, Twitter and other social media as the lure, infection starts with a Java applet downloading remote malware that sets itself to run automatically at startup. This then hijacks the user's email software in order to spam further links, and modifies the system's password settings.

From the point of infection, the Mac can be remotely monitored and any files on it are at risk of being stolen.

One unusual aspect of the malware is that its Java architecture allows it to hit Mac, Windows and Linux users. In-browser exploits using Java are common in Windows, and not unheard of in Macs either, but doing both at the same time is a rare approach. This hints that integrated malware could become more common in future.

"This is a sobering reminder that hackers are turning their efforts toward Mac OS X as Apple's market share grows, and users should be vigilant in protecting their computers and taking precautions when surfing the web," said SecureMac researcher, Nicholas Ptacek.

As with any Java exploit, the simplest defence it to turn off Java in the browser. That will cause problems when browsing come websites, however.

At the time of going to press, Techworld could not confirm that any of the Mac security products from vendors better known for their PC security suites protected against Boonana-a. Intego and SecureMac have put out warnings and it is likely that the Koobface connection will allow them to update in due course.

"While Intego has evidence of several infections in the wild, we are not currently able to go beyond this step, as either the malicious malware has bugs preventing it from running correctly, or the servers it contacts are not active or are not serving the correct files," said an analysis put out by Intego researchers.

"Technically, it propagates as a worm, is installed via a Trojan Horse, and installs a rootkit, backdoor, command and control, and other elements," the statement added.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Personal TechsecurityIntegotwitterFacebook

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John E Dunn

Techworld
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?