Mac users beware of new variant of fruitfly spyware

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Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Contrary to popular belief, Macs do get hacked. Sorry to spoil your day but if you are a Mac user you have lost your immunity pill. A recent threat intelligence report by McAfee found that Mac malware incidents have grown by 53% over the first quarter of 2017. Macs have been infected by worms, Trojan horses, and other forms of malware in the past decade.

Now security researchers have recently discovered a new spyware that has flown under the radar for several years.

Fruitfly spyware
The spyware, known as Fruitfly, was first discovered in January 2017, but Synack chief security expert, Patrick Wardle, discovered a more cunning variant last month.

Along with being able to track the victims’ names and locations, the spyware reportedly gives the hacker control over webcams, mice, microphones, keyboards, and notifies hackers any time the computer is in use. This enables hackers to take non-consensual photos, capture screenshots, track keystrokes, and record audio.

What’s surprising is this type of spyware is that is does not appear to be built for financial gain or designed to steal government secrets. We’re not sure but this latest variant of the spyware seems to be focused on regular people. According to experts, the hacker may have developed the spyware for voyeuristic reasons. Collecting private data from users also suggests that hackers planned to set up more targeted social engineering scams.

The earlier detection of FruitFly seemed to have a different focus. MalwareBytes reported at the time that it seemed to be targeting biomedical research centers. “The only reason I can think of that this malware hasn’t been spotted before now is that it is being used in very tightly targeted attacks, limiting its exposure,” wrote MalwareBytes researcher Thomas Reed.

MacYour Take Away
Experts are still not entirely sure who created the malware and how it is delivered. Best practices dictate that you should follow security best practices like avoiding pop-up ads, banners and suspicious file attachments, using extreme caution when downloading free software, and update applications frequently.

This means as well that you should install anti-malware software with spyware detection capabilities and perform full system scans as often as possible. New security patches have been released to detect and block Fruitfly variants, so you should also keep your security software up to date at all times, too. As a Mac user you can no longer afford to think that your devices don’t need strong security software.

If you’re concerned about the security of your Mac, talk to us today. We offer comprehensive solutions that can defend against the new Fruitfly strain and a host of other cyberattacks. Call us today at 604.270.1730 and we’ll be happy to work with you.

Bob Milliken is the TheITguy@CascadiaSystemsGroup.com specializing in helping businesses with their IT needs. Their mission is to provide IT strategies, service and support that creates raving fans and builds long term lasting relationships.