Security researchers warned on Thursday that malware available on the Dark Web for just over ₹3,600 ($49) is helping hackers in stealing the information of Mac and Windows users.
According to Check Point Research (CPR), the malware strain known as ‘Xloader’ was developed to steal information from MacOS users. Cybercriminals can purchase licences for the malware on the Darknet for as little as $49, allowing them to harvest log-in credentials, collect screenshots, log keystrokes, and execute malicious files.
Almost 53% of victims are from the United States, including both Mac and Windows users, and the evolved malware has been requested by cybercriminals from 69 nations. According to the researchers, victims are duped into downloading the malware strain via faked emails containing malicious Microsoft Office documents.
Commenting on the incident, Yaniv Balmas, Head of Cyber Research at Check Point Software, said “This malware is far more mature and sophisticated than its predecessors, supporting different operating systems, specifically MacOS computers. Historically, MacOS malware hasn’t been that common. They usually fall into the category of ‘spyware’, not causing too much damage,”
While there is a gap in between Windows and MacOS based malware, it is gradually closing.
Balmad added “The truth is that MacOS malware is becoming bigger and more dangerous. Our recent findings are a perfect example and confirm this growing trend,”
‘XLoader’ is a descendant of the well-known ‘Formbook’ malware family, which mostly targeted Windows users but was no longer available for sale from 2018. In 2020, Formbook was renamed to XLoader.
CPR has been studying XLoader’s activity for the past six months, and has discovered that XLoader is prolific, targeting not only Windows users, but also Mac users, much to CPR’s astonishment.
According to the researchers, to avoid infection — both Mac and Windows users should avoid opening suspicious attachments, refrain from visiting malicious websites, and use third-party protection software to help identify and prevent malicious behaviour on their computers.