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  1. FruitFly, a piece of Mac malware that infected thousands of machines over the course of more than 13 years, was being distributed via poorly protected external services. First detailed in early 2017, FruitFly (also known as Quimitchin) targeted individuals, companies, schools, a police department, and the U.S. government, including a computer owned by a subsidiary of the Department of Energy. In January this year, the U.S. Department of Justice indicted Phillip R. Durachinsky, an Ohio resident, for using the malware for more than 13 years for nefarious purposes. The man would abuse FruitFly to steal personal data of unknowing victims and spy on them, and even to produce child pornography. Durachinsky allegedly leveraged the malware to control the infected machines “by accessing stored data, uploading files, taking and downloading screenshots, logging a user’s keystrokes, and turning on the camera and microphone to surreptitiously record images and audio,” the DoJ said in January. While the threat’s capabilities were clear to the researchers who analyzed it, the only thing they couldn’t explain was the infection vector. A newly discovered “flash alert” (PDF) that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) sent in March last year, however, solves the mystery: Durachinsky targeted poorly protected external services to install the malware onto his victims’ machines. “The attack vector included the scanning and identification of externally facing Mac services to include the Apple Filing Protocol (AFP, port 548), RDP, VNC, SSH (port 22), and Back to My Mac (BTMM), which would be targeted with weak passwords or passwords derived from 3rd party data breaches,” the alert reads. Discovered by Patrick Wardle, co-founder and chief research officer of enterprise macOS security company Digita Security, the document reveals that, in addition to using the malware to spy on victims, Durachinsky was leveraging the infection to target additional systems. Basically, he scanned the Internet for Macs with exposed ports that he could exploit and then attempted to connect to these systems using weak, known credentials. Once a system was compromised, he then attempted to persistently install the malware. The targeting of poorly protected remote access protocols for malware installation isn’t a new technique. In fact, there are millions of endpoints exposing ports associated with the Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and this type of attack even surpassed spam in popularity among ransomware operators. Source
  2. Threats against Mac users grow Mac computers may still be "safer" than Windows PCs, as less focus is put on them, but the number of attacks is rapidly rising. In fact, according to the recent McAfee Threat Report, macOS malware grew by 744% in 2016, with some 460,000 instances detected. Of course, when it comes to comparing macOS infections with those of Windows PCs, Mac numbers are minimal. All malware detected last year rose up to some 600 million instances, with some 15 million being mobile malware. Thankfully, if you could put it there, most macOS malware was adware, which means it pretty much just annoys victims, rather than do a lot of damage, such is the situation with most Windows or Android malware. This doesn't mean there are no instances of truly malicious infections. In fact, there are plenty of those to go around, such as the Word macro instances where Mac users were targeted, or the Fruitfly malware used to attack computers in biomedical research institutions. Of course, in order to protect yourself and your device from malware, it's best to only install software from verified sources and to avoid suspicious emails and their attachments. The dangers of IoT The McAfee report puts the focus on another type of issue - the growing number of malware infections on Internet of Things devices which enables them to be used as part of botnets for various purposes, like DDoS attacks on websites. "IoT devices are being hijacked and used to carry out serious crimes in cyberspace. Attackers, after gaining control of IoT devices, can use them to attack business, consumers, or Internet infrastructure. The Mirai botnet is just the beginning," reads the report, setting down an ominous prediction. This situation, however, highlights the modern problems of the world where more and more devices come with an Internet connection and not enough security to make them safe against attacks. There have been numerous reports in recent months about all types of attacks against IoT devices, including smart toys for kids and smart toys for... adults. Source
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