Apple's Mac M1s already targeted by malware




 Macs with an Apple Silicon processor have only been available since November 2020, but hackers haven't waited long to look into this new architecture.

Apple marked the news at the end of 2020 with the presentation of its first MacBook and Mac Mini equipped with an M1 chip.





A first malware in the form of a Safari extension

With these new machines, the Californian manufacturer began a two-year transition that will see it abandon Intel processors in favor of its own ARM chips, developed in-house.

The small market share of the Mac compared to PCs running Windows has always more or less spared owners of iMac or MacBook, hackers primarily interested in these platforms are fewer than those targeting Windows 10.

However, the hype around the Mac M1 has apparently aroused the interest of hackers with the discovery of the first malware specifically targeting the first machines equipped with Apple Silicon processors.



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A very easy transition from x86 to ARM that chews up the work of hackers

It was security researcher Patrick Wardle who discovered the existence of an extension for the Safari browser called GoSearch22, a variation of the famous and very old Pirrit adware. The malware is said to be aimed at collecting a lot of personal data and displaying advertising on the user's screen.

If this first malware is not dangerous, researchers are however alarmed about the speed shown by hackers to adapt their software to the new architecture developed by Apple. 'It was inevitable, compiling for M1 can be as easy as pushing a button in project settings,' said Thomas Reed, security researcher at Malwarebytes.

Tony Lambert, another computer security expert working for the company Red Canary, adds in an interview with Wired that 'current security tools are not yet ready' to detect these new threats adapted to M1 processors. The number of malware targeting these new computers should therefore grow rapidly, by the time that antiviruses also make their transition to the ARM architecture.

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