New research identified adware being the method of choice for profiting against the macOS. Apple’s tool provider finds three adware programs, Shlayer, Pirrit, and Climpli, making up the majority of adware they came across for the past months and years.
The adware programs are reported to be installed while legitimate other programs are also being installed as part of an affiliate system. Antivirus software often fails to detect these malicious programs since they are not considered to be outright malicious.
Security experts say that adware programs can be invasive and disruptive to operations, including the macOS, but most companies do not recognise them as threats.
Furthermore, these kinds of malicious programs can also invade Mac systems and pose damaging security threats to users in the future. Researchers have discovered several adware families within the macOS and determined that if the programs have made it past the systems using basic social engineering approaches, threat actors may find it easier to intrude more.
For malware programs, it is highlighted that Macs are not its major target among other systems. Ordinary malware programs find it difficult to position themselves against Apple’s built-in signature blocking system, XProtect.
On the other hand, ad programs are often allowed despite operating in a grey area of aggressive marketing and absolute fraud. These programs have their way of infecting macOS systems.
The ad programs mentioned above have shown their infection capabilities that are not seen in other typical adware programs. Pirrit is a program linked to an Israeli marketing company. It forces advertisement to users by showing persistence and acquiring root access inside a Mac system. The Shlayer typically uses fake installers in fooling users to ignore security warnings.
During a briefing, an expert stressed that ad programs have been leading the market as far as malicious activities on a Mac system is concerned. Threat actors have become more clever and sophisticated with the adware attacks over the years that resulted in a spike in threats against Mac users.
For the past month, experts have only detected 13 adware programs, among other threats for the Mac system. In 2020, security researchers found these malicious programs to be accounted for about 1.5% of total detection volume against Mac systems despite not specifying the exact volume of adware versus malware found by Mac users. It is in comparison with potentially unwanted programs (PUPs) and adware that respectively accounted for 76% and 22% of total detections.