First Apple Silicon M1 Malware Discovered by Security Researcher

Rizwan Anwer
Rizwan Anwer
3 Min Read

Apple was greatly praised for their efforts with the Silicon M1 Processor for its unprecedented attention toward security and protection. However, it looks like the first Apple Silicon M1 Malware has just been found in the wild by Patrick Wardle, an independent security researcher.

First Apple Silicon M1 Malware Discovered – Will More Follow?

In their blog post, Patrick has highlighted the existence of the malware. A brand new strain of a pre-existing malware that stems from the Pirrit virus.

While the virus was able to be identified with relative ease on Intel based systems by anti-virus softwares, there was less success on identifying the malware on the new Apple Silicon ARM processors.

The malicious app installs itself on your browser and acts like adware. According to PCRisk, these are the properties of the GoSearch 22 malware.

"When users have apps like GoSearch22 installed on a browser and/or the operating system, they are forced to occasionally see coupons, banners, pop-up ads, surveys, and/or ads of other types. Quite often ads by apps like GoSearch22 are designed to promote dubious websites or even download and/or install unwanted apps by executing certain scripts. Moreover, adware-type apps like GoSearch22 tend to be designed to collect browsing data. For instance, details like IP addresses, addresses of visited web pages, entered search queries, geolocations, and other browsing-related information."

For now, it is known that the malware can be packaged with installers, peer-to-peer clients like BitTorrent clients, and pages that are riddled with Malware via deceptive download buttons.

While this is a relative tamer malware that is currently affecting systems, this is still the first of many potential malware that could be under consideration by malicious hacker groups in attempts to bypassing the elaborate security that is the new M1 Silicon chip.

For now, just follow the usual process of opening links from trusted sources, download applications or such from only official sites or trusted sources, and avoid any places which have sketchy downloads or deceptive practices.

With the new malware out there, do you expect more to emerge in the future, or will Apple learn from this to further improve the security measures on their processors and MacOS?

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