New Tor-powered backdoor program targets Macs

The Eleanor malware allows attackers to execute commands and scripts, steal and modify files and take pictures using the webcam

Security researchers have found a new backdoor program that allows attackers to hijack Mac systems and control them over the Tor network.

The new malware has been dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Eleanor by researchers from antivirus vendor Bitdefender and is distributed as a file converter application through reputable websites that offer Mac software.

The rogue application is called EasyDoc Converter. Once installed it displays a fake interface where users can supposedly drag and drop files for conversion, but which in reality doesn't do anything.

In the background, the application executes a shell script that installs multiple malicious components in a folder called “/Users/$USER/Library/.dropbox." The Dropbox name is used to make the malware harder to spot and has nothing to do with the legitimate Dropbox file synchronization software.

The Eleanor malware has three components: a Web service with a PHP application, a Tor hidden service that allows attackers to connect to the affected systems over the Tor anonymity network and an agent that posts the Tor access URLs for infected systems to the Pastebin website.

The PHP application served by the Web service is actually a backdoor that allows attackers to view, edit, rename, delete, upload, download and archive files on the system; to execute shell commands and scripts written in PHP, Perl, Python, Ruby, Java and C; to open a reverse shell to the attackers' server; to connect to MySQL, SQLite and other databases; to view the process list and to send emails with attachments. Another component of this application allows attackers to capture images and videos using the system's webcam.

The Tor component connects the computer to the Tor network and makes its rogue Web service accessible via a .onion URL. This type of URL can only be accessed from within the Tor network.

The Pastebin agent takes the system's .onion URL, encrypts it with an RSA public key and posts it on Pastebin where attackers can find it and use it.

The oldest Pastebin post identified by the Bitdefender researchers as being created by the Eleanor backdoor is dated April 19. But the company could not establish the total number of infected machines, because different Eleanor samples upload URLs to different Pastebin accounts and they don't have all the samples.

The good news is that the app is not digitally signed by an Apple-approved certificate, so users will see security warnings on the latest OS X version if they try to install it. On OS X El Capitan (10.11) users would actually need to perform a manual override in order to install the application.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

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.

Lucian Constantin

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

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

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

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

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

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.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?