Comments by: Ashutosh Rana, Senior Security Consultant, Synopsys Software Integrity Group
Hearing about new malware variants for popular operating systems like Mac or Windows, as well as malware-as-a-service should not be surprising to anyone. This variant (and most other malware) depends on social engineering techniques to infect the host machine. Despite a lot of technical controls and protections from operating systems such as Windows and Mac, as well as associated browsers, users still have the ability to download and install any software they want. This empowers users to choose and trust any software from any source, but this also makes them responsible for the installation of that software. This is where adversaries often find opportunities to exploit the freedom given to the users, tricking them into installing malware such as Formbook or XLoader.
By following the principle of least privilege and by building security into the design of the software or operating system, the likelihood and impact of a security incident such as malware infection can be minimised.
Users must also remain vigilant and educate themselves (alternatively, organisations must ensure their employees are trained effectively) not to fall for social engineering tricks like phishing or blindly trusting a software source. Additionally, users should practice good security hygiene by keeping their antivirus software, operating system, and other applications up to date.
Comments by: Boris Cipot, Senior Security Engineer, at Synopsys Software Integrity Group
Apple has successfully protected its users for years and, in many cases, restrictions concerning the software development and release process on the platforms itself do not allow for much misuse. On the other hand, by limiting the complexity of the software and operating system itself, it runs on predefined hardware with a limited amount of diverse configurations compared to Windows or Linux distributions that have to keep up with many different hardware vendors, their drivers, software etc.
However, even with this successful approach helping its customers, the fact still remains that the Mac Operating System is still complex software where a bug, vulnerability or even a software feature that can be misused, can sneak in and be exploited by a malicious actor looking for such an opportunity. One such case is the XLoader malware, which evolved from the Windows malware Formbook and is posing a threat to Mac users worldwide.
The best way to stay protected is to avoid unknown webpages and never to install unknown software or click on attachments.