A hacking collective called the Lazarus Group has been trying to compromise MacOS systems in an elaborate scam involving cryptocurrency software and a realistic-looking website.
Lazarus Group, a gang of hackers believed to be sponsored by North Korea, tried to penetrate Apple computers running macOS by tricking users into downloading a cryptocurrency application from a seemingly legit website.
The software would, of course, contain malware, infecting the computer and giving users complete remote access. It’s one thing to exploit an existing vulnerability, but when users give the attackers full access via regular channels, the intrusion can be more extensive.
The attackers created a cryptocurrency-trading application, hosted on GitHub to give it more credibility, and built a good-enough website to promote it. Once the user installs the software and grants it administrative privileges, the hackers have a backdoor into the OS.
“It’s not every day we get a new macOS malware specimen to tear apart, especially one written by a reasonably sophisticated APT group,” said Jamf’s Principal Security Researcher Patrick Wardle, the researcher who caught the malware. “Do you have to worry about getting infected? Probably not, unless you’re an employee working at a crypto-currency exchange.”
In an interview with Forbes, Patrick Wardle said the attack wasn’t necessarily geared toward regular users. Attackers sent the infected software to cryptocurrency exchanges for review, with the hope of compromising essential systems.
The Lazarus Group and other hacking groups based or sponsored by North Korea have been operating for years, and the United States has issued a few advisories over time regarding their continuous attacks.